2 Pit Bull Owners Charged with Felonies Over San Diego Attack

The mother and daughter who owned the two pit bulls which savagely attacked 75-year-old Emako Mendoza on June 18 in her Paradise Hills yard will face a preliminary hearing in San Diego court on July 15, 2011.  http://www.opposingviews.com/i/2-pit-bulls-attack-san-diego-woman-75-leg-amputated

Alba Medina Cornelio, 39, and her 19-year-old daughter, Carla Ramirez Cornelio, who were neighbors of the Mendozas, both face up to three years and eight months in prison if they are convicted of two felony counts each for owning dogs that caused serious bodily injury and three misdemeanor counts of failing to protect the public from a dog, knowingly owning a dangerous dog and violation of leash laws in failing to properly restrain the dogs.  The women are being held on $350,000 bail each. 

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the women were arrested at their Alleghany Street home.  Carla Cornelio told authorities that her mother was at work but she was found hiding in a closet, said Lt. Dan DeSousa of San Diego Department of Animal Services.

Emako Mendoza’s left leg was amputated below the knee and her left arm had to be removed below the elbow, said San Diego Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey.  The victim has also had surgery on her right leg because of the infection which developed from the severe dog bites.

Harvey had argued for $900,000 bail each, claiming that the Cornelios pose a flight risk because they own a home in Mexico.  Alba Cornelio is a Mexican national.  A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that she is on an immigration hold and the agency is determining whether she is subject to deportation.

Defense Attorney Donovan Dominion had requested bail be lowered to $100,000 each, stating that Alba Cornelio has lived in the United States for 19 years and is supported by her two children here.  He described the women as, “traumatized” by what happened to Emako Mendoza, and said, “They certain have never ever in their lives been out to harm anybody,” he told SignonSanDeigo.com http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jun/29/arrests-made-in-weekend-pit-bull-attack/

The dogs forced their way through an opening in the fence separating the yard of Emako and James Mendoza and the Cornelios and attacked the fragile, elderly woman when she went out to retrieve the newspaper at 6:30 a.m. James Mendoza had placed a barbed-wire barrier over the area because he was afraid of the dogs, which had attacked a man walking his poodle puppy on December 25, 2010.

In the prior incident, the puppy was badly hurt and the owner sustained minor wounds, but charges were not pressed because the Cornelios agreed to pay the veterinary bills. DeSousa stated that the San Diego Animal Control could not cite or arrest in case of a misdemeanor unless they had witnessed the attack.

“We are of the opinion that [incident] should have put the Cornelios on notice of their responsibilities to take every precaution so that their dogs were unable to get off their property and cause harm to another animal or person.”

DeSousa continued, “Because of their failure, Ms. Mendoza has suffered horrific injuries.  The two dogs and the puppies have paid the ultimate price.  We hold the Cornelios responsible for their inactions.”

The attack on Ms. Mendoza involved two six-year-old female pit bulls, one of which had just had eleven puppies.  All were relinquished to San Diego Animal Control and euthanized.  The officials reported that during the quarantine period the dogs continued to act aggressively. 

According to SignonSanDiego.com, Defense Attorney Donovan Dunnion stated, “It would be speculation to say that one of the dogs having puppies contributed to the attack on Mendoza…The dog’s been a docile, caring dog throughout its entire life.”

San Diego County code allows residents to maintain six adult dogs per household, plus puppies under four months of age are not counted.  At the time of the attack, in addition to the Pit Bulls,  the Cornelios also had four Chihuahuas at the residence, but DeSousa stated they were not on the premises at the time the women were arrested.

James Mendoza says he sleeps a little better now that the women and dogs are gone, but he is still angry about the incident.  Emako remains in serious condition and was still on a breathing tube at the time of the report.  James said he does not believe his wife of 53 years recognizes him.

I do believe that this discussion is about pit bulls, not chihuahua bites. Pit bull attacks take more than an emergency room visit as described by this group of Texas doctors who recommend regulating pit bulls.


"Conclusions: Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Strict regulation of pit bulls may substantially reduce the US mortality rates related to dog bites."

Shifting the emphasis off the topic at hand is standard operating procedure for pit nutters. There are over 4 million dog bites in this country every year and that is nothing to downplay for the sake of one's ego because one can't win the arguments against pit bulls.

I believe someone gave misinformation in stating that dog bites have decreased. Not according to stats on emergency room visits. This link shows otherwise:http://www.ahrq.gov/news/nn/nn120110.htm

Release date: December 1, 2010

The number of people admitted to the hospital because of dog bites increased by 86 percent—from 5,100 to 9,500 hospital stays—between 1993 and 2008, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Valid point.

Looks like you're right: Dog-bite-related hospital stays are up in that time frame.

The bigger picture here, of course, is that dog bites are vastly more rare and less damaging than other injuries examined at those Emergency Departments.

For example, the national average daily ED visits per day in the most recent year of the study, 2008, for dog bites was 866. Contrast that with other injury-related visits: 82,518.

The same breakdown for hospital stays:
Dog bite related- 26.
Other injuries- 8,184.

Percentage routine discharge:
Dog bites- 84.9.
Other injuries- 50.4.

The point here is that dog bites are not as drastic of a crisis as those sensational news stories (and the blogs which highlight them) would have you believe. Panic and fear make for unwise public policy.

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'.

So I have presented two credible reports by doctors on the damages done by pits. I ask you again, Solar, are you saying that these doctors are wrong? Simple question for a simple mind.

I have no reason to believe that their findings are inaccurate. You should know this, since I have not disputed their findings. Your question is completely unnecessary and only serves to ignore my valid points.

What I was pointing out was that you are approaching this entire issue with a narrow-minded viewpoint.

But that is the problem inherent in promoting BSL: It ignores the majority of dog bite victims of every level of seriousness-- from the snap all the way up to the fatal dog attack victim.

NBY, the overwhelming majority of dog bite victims, of every severity, suffer at the teeth of dogs not belonging to the 'pit bull' group of breeds. That is an inescapable fact. A fact I have proven over and over again.

Another fact is that BSL supporters insist that 'pit bull' type breeds need to be more heavily regulated due to their increased risk to the public when compared to other dogs. Not only do you people fail to recognize that "maulings" are such a rare occurrence that it barely warrants attention, you people falsely inflate the problem for no other reason than to scare people.

Fear and panic are terrible drivers of public policy.

The better solution is non-breed specific legislation. Non-BSL focuses on ALL dangerous dogs, not a small minority of "potentially-dangerous" dogs, while ignoring the actually dangerous dogs.

It is a better solution because it actually addresses the problem!

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'.

BTW, Solar, are you saying that all these doctors don't know what they are talking about? What is your point here? Are you trying to disprove these reputable, educated doctors? The TX study clearly says that these doctors, after seeing what pits do in comparison to other breeds, are in favor of regulating pit bulls. What's your argument about that?


Maybe you should read more carefully. My points are crystal clear.

Why should I offer further argument when you cannot comprehend all that I have offered thus far? There is plenty of unanswered argument here, if you'd only try to read it.

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'.

I'll make it easy. This link is a listing of pit attacks for 6-8 months straight. If you read them, you will see all the throat attacks. www.pitattacksbystate.blogspot.com Happy reading, there's enough to keep one busy for awhile.

Also, find another site that records attacks by other breeds and make a comparison of the how many those other breeds are doing. Happy hunting, Boo Hoo.


When your argument fails, you up the ante with some blog?!

That's just pathetic. I'll take this development as a tacit surrender.

Thanks for playing.

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'.

I didn't see any links to back the previous comment. The 33% was from another report where only 89 of over 200 incidents involved pit bulls. Distorting what is said doesn't change the facts. You don't know how many of the other attacks out of the over 200 were committed by pit bulls and if those attacks had been reported by breed, I am quite sure it would definitely NOT show that pit attacks are going down. I suggest that you read the entire report on both articles and you will see that there is significant differences in how other breeds "bite" and how pits do it. I have read both and it clearly shows that, yes indeed, the pits do tear out throats. If you do research on fatalities, you will see that pits tear out throats. Plus the fact that pits kill more people than any other breed, what is so difficult to understand.