Feature Photos

Pit bull attack scars teen and her pooch

By February 15, 2011

BANDAGES AND WOUNDS —€” Audrey Johnson and her dog Bella survived a vicious attack. An out-of-control pit bull belonging to a neighbor injured them both. Village Life photo by Mike Roberts


BANDAGES AND WOUNDS —€” Audrey Johnson and her dog Bella survived a vicious attack. An out-of-control pit bull belonging to a neighbor injured them both. Village Life photo by Mike Roberts

Audrey Johnson, 16, was walking her energetic 7-year-old miniature schnauzer, Bella, back from Stephen Harris Park in El Dorado Hills shortly after noon on Saturday. She ran into her Riviera Drive neighbor Felicia Raquipiso, who lives directly across from the park’s parking lot.

Raquipiso warned Audrey that Spider, the family’s medium sized, one-and-a-half-year-old un-neutered pit bull, was loose and she should pick Bella up to protect her.

Audrey spotted the black and white pit bull. It approached, barking aggressively. “She said the dog wouldn’t bite me, and to stand behind her,” said Audrey. But the dog was undeterred and lunged at the schnauzer that Audrey tightly clutched in her right arm.

The puncture wounds that stretch around the breadth of that arm are a testament to the dog’s ferocity. “You can see the size of his jaw right here on my arm,” said Audrey on Monday.

After the initial attack Audrey dropped the frightened and writhing Bella, who became Spider’s next victim. “He had her in his mouth and was shaking her and dragging her around,” she said.

With Bella, Audrey and Felicia all screaming at the top of their lungs Spider eventually dropped Bella. Felicia routed Audrey and the wounded schnauzer into her house on the 2600 block of Riviera Circle, with Spider nipping at their heels.

Audrey called her parents, who live several houses down the block. Dawn Johnson came running down the street barefoot in shorts to her daughter’s defense. But she had to get through Spider, who was postured to defend his home.

He threatened Dawn and was “going totally berserk,” according to a neighbor who helped her get past the dog.

Neil Johnson appeared shortly by car, armed with a large rock, and gained access to the house with the intent of taking his daughter and dog to the doctor and vet, respectively, but Spider wouldn’t let him out.

Raquipiso eventually got Spider confined to the back yard. Neighbors called 911. El Dorado Hills paramedics arrived and took Audrey to Mercy Hospital in Folsom, where she was treated for multiple puncture wounds. Neil Johnson took Bella to Lake Forest Animal Hospital in Folsom for similar treatment.

A county Animal Services officer arrived and captured Spider, who is now under quarantine at the shelter in Placerville. Chief Animal Services Officer Henry Brzezinski confirmed that the dog is current on its rabies vaccinations but remain in quarantine at the shelter until an investigation is complete

Lino Raquipiso, Felicia’s father and Spider’s owner, visited the Johnson’s on Sunday and apologized, but didn’t offer to pay the vet bills which are $700 so far, with more visits to come.

The Raquipisos have not yet been formally cited, but possible charges could include an aggressive dog running at large citation, said Brzezinski.

“A petition could also be filed through El Dorado County Superior Court to determine if the dog should be declared potentially dangerous or vicious,” Brzezinski wrote in e-mail.

The Johnsons and their neighbors said the dog has a history of escaping his yard and threatening pedestrians. They also heard that Spider killed another Raquipiso dog in the yard.

On Monday, Dawn Johnson stroked Bella’s head, steering clear of the multiple puncture wounds on her back side. The whimpering schnauzer was bruised, tender and heavily medicated, but the family was optimistic that she’d survive.

El Dorado County’s 2002 dangerous dog ordinance requires owners of dogs declared dangerous or vicious to take specific steps to safeguard the public.

  • Keeping the dog contained in a secure enclosure which has been inspected and approved by Animal Services, and which children cannot get into
  • Ensuring that the dog wears a bright, florescent collar with a specific dangerous dog license attached at all times, and that signs are posted on the property in English and Spanish in locations visible to anyone entering the property
  • Spaying or neutering the dog
  • Notifying  law enforcement, fire department, the post office and utility companies, veterinarians, home owners nearby and their insurance carrier of the incident.
  • If the injury involves a human, the owner is required to maintain liability insurance or a bond covering property damage and bodily injury of at least $100,000

Violations of any of these conditions could result in a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $1000 or 6 months in jail, or both. Animal Services advises anyone who feels threatened by an animal to immediately report it.

Mike Roberts

Leave a Comment

Discussion | 12 comments

  • KFebruary 16, 2011 - 9:18 pm

    If Pit Bulls are outlawed, only criminals would have Pit Bulls. Oh, criminals already do like Pit Bulls. hmmm

    Reply
  • JasonFebruary 19, 2011 - 6:46 pm

    You're stupid and ignorant It's only a pit bull if it's bred for fighting. I own an American staffordshire terrier not a pit. I've also NEVER been in trouble with the law. I personally know the people who own the dog they're not criminals either.

    Reply
  • concerned nieghborFebruary 16, 2011 - 10:55 pm

    Good to see Audrey survived this vicious attack !!!! Will the 6 year olds playing soccer across the street be as lucky when he gets loose again???? The owners of this dog need to do the right thing and put this dog down !!!!!!

    Reply
  • MaKennaFebruary 17, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    Oh My Gosh! That same pit bull chased my friend and I for 1/2 mile on our bikes! It almost bit my foot off!

    Reply
  • concerned nieghborFebruary 17, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    Makenna, please email your vicious dog complaint to the El dorado animal control ....Animal Services is in receipt of your information regarding the dog at 2601 Riviera Circle. We can add a loose dog complaint on your behalf to our records. If you or someone you know have had in incident with the dog besides just seeing it loose and would like to fill out a Potentially Dangerous Dog Questionnaire please let me know. This would be an incident where the dog came after you or another animal, other bites or an occasion where it injured another animal. Please let us know if we can answer any additional questions. Jennifer Hamburg Health Program Specialist El Dorado County Animal Services Division Of Public Health Department of Health Services 415 Placerville Drive Suite N Placerville, CA 95667 (530) 621-7637 Phone (530) 622-6851 Fax

    Reply
  • concerned nieghborFebruary 17, 2011 - 5:02 pm

    The email for the EDC animal control is [email protected]

    Reply
  • another concerned neighborFebruary 18, 2011 - 11:38 pm

    I am, above all, an animal lover, but all evidence presented here points to the fact that this dog poses a threat to both humans and animals in our neighborhood. The owners must take responsibility for this incident: have Spider euthanized and figure out a way to reimburse the Johnsons for at least a portion of Bella's vet bills.

    Reply
  • JasonFebruary 19, 2011 - 7:12 pm

    Maybe the dog should be put down. I am not aware of any aggressive behavior of this dog as it had never shown any signs of aggression towards me even as a stranger in the beginning. It's not fair to single out any one person simply because they own a \pit.\ This dog may have been improperly trained, it's not fair to say that all \pits\ are aggressive. My Amstaff gets along with 2 chihuahuas and 3 outdoor cats and shows no aggression towards them at all. It would be unfair to say that anyone who lives in El Dorado Hills is rich and \stuck up\ simply because of where you live.

    Reply
  • JasonFebruary 19, 2011 - 7:30 pm

    By the way, Felicia I want my laptop back!

    Reply
  • NeighborMarch 07, 2011 - 10:09 pm

    I filed a complaint about this same dog over a year ago after having an incident myself. I am extremely concerned about this situation and would like to know if this dog will be brought back into this neighborhood. I do not trust this dog, nor do I trust that the owners. This dog has been loose several times and the fence shows no signs of repair. Now that there is an opening to the park where children can run freely, I think it would be irresponsible for EDH to allow this dog back into our neighborhood. I plan to file many more complaints if the dog is brought back to our neighborhood.

    Reply
  • bellas familyMarch 28, 2011 - 3:49 am

    Thank you all the pitbull was put to sleep the johnsons

    Reply
  • bellas familyMarch 28, 2011 - 4:00 am

    From Friday, March 11th, 2011 | Posted by Mike Roberts Pit bull euthanized The pit bull that attacked Audrey Johnson, 16, and her miniature schnauzer, Bella, has been euthanized by El Dorado County Animal Services officials. Full Story: http://w3.villagelife.com/news/pit-bull-euthanized/ Quote: The investigation that followed the attack found two prior complaints about Spider running loose and threatening pedestrians … each time the owner promised to keep inside the house until the hole in the fence was fixed.

    Reply

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