A 93-year old woman died after being attacked by a pair of cane corsos in Modesto, California.
Elderly Woman Dies
Modesto, CA - On August 31, Modesto police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 3600 block of Dothan Drive at approximately 1:30 pm regarding a dog attack. Upon arrival, officers learned an elderly female, who had been outside, was attacked by two large dogs belonging to a nearby neighbor. She sustained "major injuries" and was transported to a hospital, according to a media release from the Modesto Police Department. Chanthy Philavong Maetu died on September 1.
The dogs involved, a pair of cane corsos, were captured on a neighbor's security camera rushing her front door moments before the attack. Jeniece Dendulk said she opened her front door after the dogs rushed it, but stayed behind a metal screen door, which separated her from the dogs, (whose combined weight easily surpassed 200 pounds). "I open the door, and there's the screen, there the two big ol' dogs. I'm like, oh we're not gonna answer the door," Dendulk told CBS13 in an inteview.
She yelled to a neighbor, who said they were trying to contact the dogs' owner. It appeared the pair of dogs had escaped from the backyard of Maetu's next door neighbor, reports CBS13. After the dogs left her front door area, she heard a person screaming. "We knew [the dogs] weren't friendly," Dendulk said. When she dashed out, she saw Maetu in her front yard being attacked by the two large dogs. Dendulk and neighbors were able to distract the dogs and get Maetu back inside her home.
"It was chaos. It was a matter of 80 seconds," Dendulk said. "Looking back, it was 80 seconds. Just like that everybody’s lives changed. It was awful."
While reports initially indicated Maetu was in stable condition, her condition rapidly deteriorated. She died early the next morning, according to Modesto police. The two dogs are currently in custody at the Stanislaus County Animal Shelter. According to neighbors, the owners of the dogs were not home at the time of the attack. They also commented that both dogs had shown repeated aggression since they were puppies, reports CBS13. It's unclear if Modesto police are now pursuing criminal charges.
Modesto Police Department
Modesto, CA - September 2, 2023
On Thursday, August 31, 2023, Officers investigated a dog attack that resulted in the death of an elderly Modesto woman.
At approximately 1:30 in the afternoon we received reports of a dog attack that occurred in the 3600 block of Dothan Drive in Modesto. When officers arrived, they learned that an elderly female had been attacked by two large dogs belonging to a nearby neighbor. The woman was transferred to a nearby hospital with major injuries. Both dogs were located and are in custody at the Stanislaus County Animal Shelter.
As of Thursday evening, she was in stable condition. On Friday, September 1, 2023, we were notified that the victim, 93-year-old Chanthy Philavong Maetu had unfortunately passed away.
Detectives with our Investigative Services Division have taken over this case. No further information will be released at this time as this is an active investigation.
Our hearts go out to the Maetu family over the tragic loss of Chanthy.
According to various media reports, Maetu had been returning home from a doctor's appointment. She had just exited her car and was heading toward her front door when the dogs attacked. The victim's family has started a GoFundMe, In Memory of Chanty Philavong Maetu. "Our Grandma was brutally attacked by our neighbors dogs. She was taken from us unexpectedly," states the fund's organizer. "Anything that helps would be greatly appreciated." So far, the fund has raised over $3,000.
Deadly Cane Corso Attacks
The rise of fatal attacks inflicted by cane corsos has been a long time in the coming. We began looking at Google Trends in about 2014, comparing the two terms "cane corso puppies" and "pit bull puppies." By 2015, the cane corso term had surged well above pit bulls. Because pit bull breeders began marketing designer pit bull breeds under a different name, American bullies, around the same time period, we added that to the comparison, showing the years January 2012 to August 2023.
In July, a pet cane corso was involved in a multi-breed attack that killed 67-year old Anthony Bastradi in Wilson's Mills, North Carolina. In March, a cane corso, used for guarding purposes, was involved in a multi-breed attack that killed 42-year old Mateo Salvador at a home-converted business in Jurupa Valley, California. In December of 2021, four pet cane corsos killed 26-year old Karen Rosa-Madrid in East Valinda, California. Rosa-Madrid and her son had been living at the dog owner's home at the time.
Rationale of Criminal Charges
Long time readers of our blog may recall the brutal attack of 54-year old Juan Fernandez and his mother in Modesto in 2014. A pack of four pit bulls belonging to Fernandez's neighbor escaped their fencing and fatally mauled Fernandez in his own backyard and nearly killed his mother, Maria Fernandez. She amazingly survived after sustaining severe injuries. Those dogs had a history of burrowing under their fencing and harassing Fernandez and his mother. No charges were brought.
At that time, the Modesto Bee ran a series of editorials questioning the "bizarre lack of laws to prosecute owners of uncontrolled recognized dangerous dog breeds," we stated in our related blog post. Dog bite attorney Kenneth M. Phillips best summarized the subsequent debate: "Four pit bulls equal danger. When you have a dangerous condition, you have to take steps to correct it." Owners who choose to own multiple aggressive breeds must have a higher standard mandated by law.
"If law enforcement cannot charge, then our lawmakers must step up and fix these laws.
Why not require anyone with an aggressive dog to alarm their fencing, just as gates in fences around swimming pools are alarmed? Why not require owners of aggressive breeds to double fence their property? Why not require people who own such dogs to carry significant liability coverage? Since these breeds are responsible for so much carnage, make certain that anyone who owns one can cover the cost. No insurance, no license; no license, no dog." - Modesto Bee editorial, 10/31/14
A pair or more of beagles escaping a property is not comparable to the danger presented by a pair or more of pit bulls or mastiffs escaping (the cane corso is a mastiff). The average fence for a residential property, wooden or cyclone, is not engineered to be a barrier between "life and death." They are not engineered to prevent a pair or pack of aggressive and powerful breeds from escaping either. When owners choose to own "200 pounds of mastiff," stronger fencing should be mandated by law.
12/30/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: 26-Year Old Woman Mauled to Death by Four Dogs in East Valinda
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.