Josie Arellano, the mother of the three children mauled by dogs.
UPDATE 02/18/11: On Thursday, a San Bernardino County jury convicted a Fontana couple whose mastiff and pit bulls seriously mauled three children a year ago. Judith Mendez Lopez, 56, and Jose Lopez Gonzales, 49, were convicted on seven felony counts of allowing vicious animals to be at large. Both face a maximum of 7-years in prison. Deputy District Attorney Kent Williams said, "We think this is a just verdict." (Kudos to Williams and jury members!)
03/23/10: Felony Charges Filed Against Dog Owners
Felony charges1 are being filed against a couple from Fontana after their five dogs attacked a whole family, critically injuring a 5-year old girl on February 1. Lopez Gonzalez, 49, was arrested on Monday. He pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts of allowing vicious animals at large. He remains in jail, with bail set at $250,000. His wife Judith Mendez Lopez, 55, is expected to turn herself in soon. She is also expected to be charged with seven felony counts.
If convicted of all charges, the couple could get seven years behind bars.2
02/04/10: Condition of 5-Year Old Girl Upgraded
Destiny's condition has been upgraded from critical to serious condition, but is still in a medically induced coma at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital. Family members are hopeful she'll make a complete recovery after a mauling that hospitalized three children. Dr. Jim Eguchi said, "It's too early to tell, when you're in the ICU you try not to predict things, you take it one at a time as they come along, and hopefully she makes it through."
02/03/10: Dogs' Owner "Sorry" About Triple Mauling
Fontana, CA - In yet another horrific display of criminal and unforgivable dangerous dog ownership -- where the dogs' owner might just be "ticketed" -- five dogs reportedly escaped through holes in the fence and attacked a mother and her children. In what should have been an afternoon "walk to the park," became a Freddy Krueger nightmare instead. One dog ripped a 5-year old child from her mother's arms and the other dogs attacked her two other children.
The dogs are being described as a mastiff and four pit bull-mixes.
5-year old Destiny Colon, who remains on life support at Loma Linda University Medical Center, was initially treated for broken ribs and a punctured lung. Police said the hospital called after the attack to ask if they had recovered any muscle tissue from the crime scene in hopes it could be reattached. Destiny's 6-year old brother, Hector Perez, received 235 staples to close a leg wound, and her 7-year old sister, Princess Colon, was treated for bite injuries.3
One longtime resident said she knows the aggressiveness of these dogs 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." Correction: The City of Fontana and/or its animal control department must also be held liable if these dogs had previous complaints against them.
According to Sgt. Jeff Decker, the dogs' owners are "very sorry" about what happened. This is a miserable response to Josie Arellano, whose one child may die and two others may suffer permanent disfiguring injury. Not to mention the foreseeable bankruptcy filing of the Arellano family due to extensive medical bills. The owners of these dogs did not choose to own poodles -- a breed with a strong safety record -- they chose to own known frankenmaulers.
Donations to assist with medical and other expenses are being accepted through the Colon family's church. Please make checks out to the Apostolic Church, 5401 Citrus Ave., Fontana 92336. In the memo section, write "c/o Colon Family." For additional information, please call: 909-822-5450.
2Under the much misunderstood Texas state law (Lillian's Law), a similar sentence of 7-years -- and the only publicized conviction under Lillian's Law -- was given after the "death" of Tanner Joshua Monk.
3Information regarding the injuries is still unfolding and press reports vary.
01/12/10: 2010 Fatality: Pet Pit Bull Kills 3-Year Old Boy in Apple Valley
12/20/08: A Recent Review of California Fatal Dog Attacks (2006-2008)