Video of pit bull attacking pomeranian is shown during the Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing.
Statement of Decision
San Francisco, CA - On April 25, 2023, a Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing was held to determine if a pit bull met the definition of "vicious and dangerous" set forth in the San Francisco Health Code. On February 28, 2023, the pit bull, "Chyna," flew out of an open garage door, grabbed a small dog by the neck, and "shook the dog for approximately five minutes," states the complaint. The pomeranian, "Bambi," did not survive her injuries. The brutal attack was captured on Ring camera video.
The 5-minute segment only shows the attack. The audio of the hour-and-a-half-long vicious dog hearing is available for download on the BSPics YouTube page in the description. Briefly, both dogs were female. Bambi, a 5-year old unspayed pomeranian, was outside for a walk with her owner to urinate that day. Bambi was not leashed. Chyna, a 7-year old spayed rescue pit bull, upwards of 50 pounds, who was "not normally aggressive," bolted from a garage and fatally attacked Bambi.
"Kuang said that on February 28, 2023, at 1:40 pm, she took her Pomeranian dog, Bambi, outside for a walk to urinate. Bambi was not spayed and weighed 18 lbs. A Pit Bull dog came out of nowhere and went straight for Bambi’s neck. Kuang, who was in shock, unsuccessfully tried to fight off the Pit Bull. Kuang ran to her garage to get a broom to try to fight off the Pit Bull. After minutes of screaming, her neighbor Michelle Sung ran out to help. Kuang lost hope but continued to hit the Pit Bull with her broom. When the owner, Ricardo Baldizon showed up, he begged them not to call the police, explaining that the dog was not normally aggressive." - Amended Statement of Decision
As you can see in the video, the attack is sudden, unprovoked and vicious. The pit bull executes the killing bite -- latching onto the dog's neck -- immediately. Then violently shakes the dog in its jaws for several minutes. As Bambi is being fatally injured and shaken, she cries out in fear and pain. Her owner grabs a broom and starts striking the pit bull with it, which does nothing to deter the pit bull. A neighbor rushes into help, and we hear both women screaming. Bambi has since stopped screaming.
"Michelle Sung, Kuang’s neighbor, testified that on February 28, 2023, at approximately 1:45 pm, she heard a dog crying in a high-pitched tone. Sung saw one dog on top of another and Kuang hitting the Pit Bull with a broom trying to get it to release Bambi. Sung tried to help by throwing rocks at the Pit Bull. Kuang froze and dropped the broom. Sung picked up the broom and struck the Pit Bull. No matter what Sung and Kuang did, the Pit Bull wagged its tail and continued pouncing on Bambi. She opined that the dog was unsocialized and did not know how to behave around other dogs.
Sung did not think the Pit Bull intended to kill Bambi. Rather, the dog enjoyed killing like a game." - Amended Statement of Decision
This pit bull certainly intended to kill the small dog, which is why the pit bull instantly executed the killing bite. There were no play bites or ear bites. The pit bull latched onto Bambi's neck, and quite possibly regripped a few times while the pit bull ferociously shook the dog in its powerful jaws until Bambi was rendered defenseless or dead. This was a classic pit bull attack. That the pit bull was wagging its tail during the vicious attack shows the dog's enjoyment of the act of fighting and killing.
"Physical and behavioral conformation mean that you cannot breed out behavior and keep the dog the same shape," Semyonova states. "Form follows function – you can’t have a dog whose entire body and brain are adapted to executing the killing bite without having, in fact, a dog who will execute the killing bite." - Alexandra Semyonova
The co-owner of Chyna, Taija Liscinsky, testified during the hearing that the sudden, unprovoked attack was an "accident," because her pit bull had "never aggressed on a dog before." Liscinsky also said that Chyna is an "emotional support dog" for her. Liscinsky and the dog's other owner, Ricardo Baldizon, said they had the locks and door handles changed to prevent Chyna from escaping in the future. Despite the vicious attack, Liscinsky characterized Chyna as a "gentle, loving senior dog."
Liscinsky was not present during the attack. Baldizon was inside their home. He ran outside barefoot and was able to pry Chyna off of Bambi. Then, according to Bambi's owner and Sung, the female neighbor who rushed to help, Baldizon begged them not to contact the police (a plea we have heard from the owner of a vicious dog too many times to count). Fortunately, Sung did report the attack to police, which resulted in an SFPD incident report and the Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing.
Despite Chyna's owners submitting eight letters in support of their cause, the hearing officer declared Chyna to be "vicious and dangerous for the remainder of her life," and placed restrictions on her ownership. Chyna must be leashed and muzzled when in public. Unless confined, Chyna must wear a "front attaching harness" using a leash no longer than three feet. The dog must wear a "rigid basket muzzle" and only walked in public "by responsible adults," according to the order.
The dog also has to undergo six hours of training in an effort to correct "problem behaviors" (genetic pit bull dog aggression is not correctable, but only manageable) and the owners must take steps to ensure the dog does not escape again, such as "installing self-closing hinges on the doors and installing a gate in the doorways," states the order. If Chyna is found to be off-leash or unmuzzled in the community, "ACC shall immediately seize Chyna" and another hearing will be held, states the order.
Other Parts of Testimony
We also reviewed the segment of testimony by Bambi's owner, who is assisted by a Cantonese interpreter, and Sung (starting at 14:30). In her full testimony, Sung comments further on the cruel nature of the attack, the pit bull was "playing with her like a cat and mouse," and "it wasn't just like one fatal bite," and that her own dog has been attacked by a pit bull in the past. Sung has now been affected by two acts of pit bull dog aggression outside of her volunteer work at the SF SPCA.
(20:30) "I think what was scariest is the pit bull could have killed Bambi in one bite. It's a very small fragile dog. It really was like she was playing with her like cat and mouse, and it wasn't just like one fatal bite. So Bambi died in the most cruel way possible, which is just heartbreaking for everyone..."
Regarding if she had ever had prior interactions with the dog, she said ... "My dog has been attacked by a pit bull in the past so, when I see a pit bull, I'm sure there's friendly ones, but I avoid it. So, we've never had any interactions besides that day." - Michelle Sung
Rescue Pit Bull Chyna
During the hearing, Liscinsky states that Chyna was adopted from a shelter in 2017. That shelter, "Front Street," is the city of Sacramento's shelter. Chyna was adopted out by a government shelter in one jurisdiction and became the subject of a dangerous dog hearing in another jurisdiction. Liscinsky states, "We will not deny that this situation was horrible and devastating too all parties involved. We will not say that this incident is not traumatizing. We will say this was purely an accident."
When testifying about Chyna's behavior, Liscinsky states, "We wanted to make her life easier by putting her only in situations where she was with humans." She added, "Our goal with her was to make her life happy. Animals just seemed to not do that for her." When asked by the hearing officer about Chyna's reactivity to other dogs, she described it as her dog having "uncomfortability" in outdoor situations other dogs. Chyna had never aggressed on another dog before, Liscinsky testified.
"Chyna is an anxious dog, and we wanted to make her life easier by putting her only in situations where she was with humans. A shelter dog, regardless of anything that could be perceived when meeting them, can change once you adopt them. Our goal with her was to make her life happy. Animals just seemed to not do that for her."
Hearing examiner: So, you've noticed some dog reactivity in the past?
"Not necessarily reactivity. Just uncomfortability. Not wanting to go to the park and be around dogs or anything like that, it was more of a situation where she just didn't seem comfortable and so we keep her out of those situations."
Hearing examiner: And how did her discomfort manifest itself?
"Anxiety, tucked tail. All of those factors. Not enjoying the time outside in those areas."
Hearing examiner: Has she aggressed on any dog before this incident?
"Never." - Taija Liscinsky
If Liscinsky's testimony is believable, Chyna escaped from her home on a single occasion after she was adopted in 2017. During this single occasion of escaping, the dog got through two doors -- the unit and garage doors, both doors were unsecured that day -- and fatally attacked Bambi in a wholly unprovoked attack at the "instant" this escape opportunity presented itself. Chyna is absolutely a "zero margin of error dog," which equates to being a "major liability dog" for these two young owners.
02/26/22: Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing After 'Service' Pit Bull Attacks Security Officer
03/11/21: Peer-Reviewed Study Examines Dog-on-Dog Attacks in the UK by Analyzing Media Articles
12/10/19: Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing; Pit Bulls Attack Man and His Dog in Chinatown
05/28/19: Installment 3: Conflict of Interest: San Francisco Animal Control and Virginia Donohue
12/06/18: Installment 2: San Francisco Animal Control: Vicious and Dangerous Dogs Unleashed
05/05/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog