A mother and daughter whose two female pit bulls allegedly attacked their 75-year-old next-door neighbor in her backyard, causing her to lose an arm and a leg, must stand trial on multiple charges, a judge ruled Friday.
After a two-day preliminary hearing, Judge Yvonne Campos found that enough evidence was presented for Alba Medina Cornelio, 39, and her 19-year-old daughter, Carla Ramirez Cornelio, to stand trial.
Charges against the defendants include felony counts of having a mischievous animal that causes serious bodily injury and six misdemeanor code violations, including failing to protect the public from a dog and owning a dangerous dog. They each face more than three years in prison if convicted.
A Superior Court arraignment was set for Sept. 22, when a trial date could be set.
According to court testimony, Emako Mendoza was attacked in her fenced-in yard right after she went outside to get the morning paper on June 18. The victim had her left arm amputated below the elbow and her left leg amputated below the knee.
Witnesses testified that the pit bulls got through a gap in the fence, ripping a hole near a metal gate that the victim had installed to bridge the gap in the fence between the two properties.
Prosecutor Makenzie Harvey alleged the defendants knew they had dangerous dogs because the same two pit bulls escaped from their yard last Christmas Day and attacked a man who was walking his puppy. The puppy suffered a broken jaw and the man was bitten.
After the latest attack, Alba Cornelio allowed animal service officers to euthanize her two pit bulls and their 3-week-old puppies.
Defense attorney Donovan Dunnion argued that the dogs never hurt another human being before the attack on Mendoza.
Dunnion said the pit bulls were family dogs and were running from a swarm of bees when they attacked Mendoza.
Harvey said there was no evidence the dogs were stung by bees.
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