Pit Bull Owners Arrested and Charged with a Felony
Dog Owners Arrested
UPDATE 09/18/08: The owners of the pit bulls that brutally killed Kelly Caldwell on Christmas Day have been arrested. Jeffrey Dwayne King Jr. 23, and John Allan Peterson, 23, of Yermo were arrested in Barstow on September 17 and booked into jail on suspicion of failure to control a mischievous animal, resulting in death, a felony. In a photo taken by the Desert Dispatch on December 27, 2007, pit bull owner Jeff King holds up a photo of a pit bull licking a baby's face.
After reviewing the case, the District Attorney’s Office issued a warrant for the arrest of King and Peterson Wednesday. The Pit Bull owners were scheduled for an arraignment Friday.
Caldwell’s parents, Carol and Cecil Tanner said the family has been waiting a long time for some sort of action to be taken against the dogs’ owners.
“My daughter’s life meant something, and I’m glad there’s justice somewhere for that,” Carol said. - Abby Sewell, Desert Dispatch, September 18, 2008
08/21/08: DNA Confirms Pit Bulls
DNA test results have confirmed that two pit bulls shot by deputies in December mauled a woman to death. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department sent its final report to the district attorneys office, after lab results from the county crime lab showed that blood found on the dogs match DNA from the victim, 45-year old Kelly Caldwell. The district attorney's office will now determine whether to file charges against the owners of the dogs, John Peterson and Jeff King.
Despite the long wait for DNA test results, Hart said the final answer came as no surprise.
“There really wasn’t much question that these dogs were involved, but now there’s absolute confirmation that they were involved,” he said.
Caldwell’s mother, Carol Tanner, said that after months of waiting, she was glad to hear that the case is moving forward.
“I would be happy just to know that those gentlemen are going to go to jail for being negligent with their dogs,” she said. - Abby Sewell, Desert Dispatch, August 21, 2008
12/30/07: Victim's Family in Shock
The family of Kelly Caldwell can't make sense of what happened that Christmas Day. Her daughter, Rhonda Dugger, lived with Caldwell in Yermo. She spent Christmas morning with her mother. She does not understand why her mother was walking alone that night near Yermo Road and Second Street when the dogs attacked and killed her. "It was horrible, absolutely horrible. She was gone when I got there. I never saw her take another breath,” Dugger said of her mother.
Theresa Davies, Caldwell's sister, said her sister had a medical condition that left her with "weak lungs and forced her to always walk with a companion," reports the Desert Dispatch. Davies said she was a tough woman, however, with a rough side. Davies and Bugger both said Caldwell rubbed people the wrong way and she had enemies in Yermo. Both still loved her, reports the Dispatch. “I love my sister. I love my sister to death, but a lot of people didn’t like her,” Davies said.
Both Dugger and Davies said Caldwell’s body was badly damaged by the attack. Dugger said it looked like Caldwell’s legs had been run over by a car. Pieces of her body were scattered around the scene. Davies, who saw her sister in the emergency room, said she had skin nowhere else on her body but her face.
“I can’t fathom it. I can’t believe an animal could do that,” she said, “but I saw her in the emergency room, and they did do that to her.” - Aaron Aupperlee, Desert Dispatch, December 28, 2007
Two of the four pit bulls were shot on scene by deputies and the other two were confiscated. Police have not identified the owners, who claim the dogs had never been violent to people. Dugger and Davies disagreed, stating they have heard those dogs have attacked people before. Records from San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control show that vicious dogs and bites have been made against the location before, but apparently not about these four pit bulls.
12/26/07: Woman Killed by Pit Bulls
San Bernardino, CA - A pack of pit bulls mauled a woman to death on Christmas evening. About 9:30 pm Tuesday, San Bernardino Sheriff's Department were called to a home in Yermo. They found 45-year old Kelly Caldwell lying in the street. She was transported to a hospital where she later died. Investigators said three pit bulls surrounded and attacked Caldwell, then fled to a nearby home. Deputies shot one dog after it returned to the scene and threatend paramedics.