Four pit bulls escaped their yard in eastern San Diego and killed at least five Chihuahuas in a neighbor’s backyard Saturday, authorities said.
The owner of the pit bulls turned them over to county Animal Services and the four animals were euthanized. One of them had been impounded before, in 2013, after an attack on a sheriff’s deputy, an official said.
Authorities had a second complaint in 2013 that two pit bulls from the same house were running loose in the neighborhood, but officers couldn’t find the dogs or verify the report.
The attack on Saturday was reported about 10:30 a.m. on Jamacha Road near Beacon Drive in the Lomita neighborhood. County officers took away the bodies of five Chihuahuas. Two others were not immediately accounted for, said Dan DeSousa, Department of Animal Services director.
DeSousa said his agency and San Diego police went to the homes of both dog owners.
Juan Jimenez, 37, turned over his three male pit bulls, Patron, age 2, Crunch, age 4, and Travieso, age 11 months, and a 6-year-old female named Toast.
They were taken to the county shelter in Bonita and immediately euthanized, DeSousa said.
He said Toast was one of two pit bulls impounded from the same home in 2013. County officers went to the house to investigate a report that a dog had broken off its chain and attacked a deputy. It wasn’t clear whether the attack was by Toast or the second dog. The owner reclaimed both dogs later.
Animal control officers were constrained by law from issuing charges against Jimenez on Saturday because they did not witness the attacks on the neighbor’s dogs themselves, considered a misdemeanor, DeSousa said.
However, he said, the owner of the Chihuahuas invoked the right to make a private arrest. As a result, Jimenez was cited on eight counts involving four dogs running loose and killing the small dogs.