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Dog pack escapes yard, mauls Fontana kids

February 2, 2010 12:32:08 AM PST
A pack of dogs escaped from a fenced yard in Fontana Monday and mauled three kids. One was released from the hospital, another needed 327 staples and one is still hospitalized in critical condition.Police said five dogs got out of their owner's yard and attacked the siblings, ages 5, 6 and 7, on Tokay Avenue, just south of Arrow Boulevard. The mother of the victims was taking her children out for a walk to the park when the dogs, a mastiff, a purebred pitbull and three other mixed dogs, attacked.

Authorities said the injuries to 5-year-old Destiny Colon were the worst. The mastiff punctured her lung, broke her rib cage and ripped various muscle tissue. As of Tuesday evening, she was still at Loma Linda University Childrens Hospital on ventilator support.

Fontana police said someone at the hospital called after the attack to ask if they had recovered any muscle tissue because if they had, they might be able to reattach it.

"You couldn't ask for too much more of a tragic situation here. You're on your way to a park to take your kids for a reward after school, and you're attacked by a pack of dogs," said Sgt. Jeff Decker of Fontana police.

"I felt helpless. I couldn't help her, but I had five other kids I was trying to help," said Josie Arellano, the mother of the attacked children.

"They knocked us to the ground, and when I turned around, they had Destiny and they were brutally attacking her, biting on her. There were two dogs that were trying to demolish her right there," described Arellano.

"I felt like they were going to eat her alive right there, and I was screaming and some kid happened to hear me, and he came out of nowhere and he started throwing rocks at the dogs. My son came and started throwing rocks, but they wouldn't let her go," Arellano described through tears.

One officer said he was forced to shoot and kill a pit bull because it was so aggressive.

The other dogs of mixed breeds were removed by Animal Control.

"Probably the scariest I've seen in the 12 years I've been doing this," described Jamie Simmons of San Bernardino Animal Control.

"Anytime you have a pack mentality of dogs, it creates a dangerous situation, and I'm relieved they're here and not at large," said Simmons.

"The mother informed us that one of the dogs had actually pulled a child from her arms, and tossed the child around like a rag doll," said Sgt. Jeff Decker of San Bernardino Animal Control.

Residents are furious that something like this had to happen in the first place.

One resident, who has been in the neighborhood for 30 years, says she knows the aggressiveness of these animals well.

"They would come after horses, after people. Everybody was in danger. I'm not surprised," she said. "When people have dogs that are dangerous and they can get out of the yard, what can you expect? Those people need to be stopped."

The dogs live on another street and were being held by Animal Control. They are scheduled to be put down.

At the very least, the dogs' owner will be getting a citation. More serious criminal charges could be pending against the owner if it's determined that he did not do enough to secure the dogs.