A dog-on-dog attack prompted a 911 call and an ongoing Animal Care and Control investigation that started Sunday morning in Valencia, according to witnesses and officials.
Sophia K., a resident of the Portofino apartment complex, said she was taking Bozzy, her 5-year-old toy Aussie, for his morning constitutional when she spotted a pit bull, which isn’t allowed under the rules of her complex, about 75 feet away.
The owner of the pit bull was not able to keep his dog on the leash and it went after Bozzy so fast that Sophia, who declined to share her last name because she was concerned about being identified through her work on social media, said she didn’t have time to react.
“It was horrendous. I screamed, literally bloody murder,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday, her voice still sounding hoarse from the incident. She described the gruesome scene that followed as “unimaginable, incomprehensible” and traumatic.
Witnesses’ accounts indicated that 15 to 20 people began to gather and witness the scene, which included Sophia screaming frantically while she and several neighbors worked to separate the animals. Sophia says she was able to call her boyfriend, who also tried unsuccessfully to pull the dogs apart.
“So, what happened was, a couple of other neighbors were assisting, like kicking the pit bull, trying to help, nothing was working. And the neighbor, I don’t know who he who he is or his name — I actually want to thank him because if it weren’t for him my dog probably wouldn’t be alive — asked if he should stab the dog,” she said, which was ultimately how they were separated.
Personnel with the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a report of a medical emergency around 8:57 a.m., at the 24400 block of the Valencia Boulevard in the Portofino Apartments, a complex a few blocks west of City Hall, according to Kaitlyn Aldana, spokeswoman for the Fire Department.
The department’s call log indicates that one patient was taken via an ambulance for medical treatment at 9:42 a.m., and another was expected to be taken minutes later.
Sophia said, ultimately, her dog and the neighbor’s dog ended up as patients at the same animal hospital on Soledad Canyon Road, as it was the only one open at the time.
Now the report filed by Sophia K. is part of a “fact-finding” effort by Animal Care, according to Leah Cohen, a spokeswoman for the agency, who said she couldn’t comment on the circumstances of the agency’s investigation at this time.
Cohen confirmed that no people were bitten or taken to the emergency room as a result of the incident. “We have not impounded/do not have either dog in our custody at this moment,” Cohen wrote in an email.
While not speaking to Sunday’s incident, Cohen also confirmed Animal Care has procedures in place for if “the threat of potentially dangerous and vicious dogs threatens the safety and welfare of the citizens of the county,” according to an explanation of the agency’s Critical Case Processing Unit.
“The CCP thoroughly investigates reported dog bites and attacks,” according to an email from Cohen, referring to the agency’s general policy governing such incidents. “The investigating officer may then prepare a petition for review by an administrative hearing officer. The hearing officer may then impose a series of restrictions and conditions on the continued ownership of offending dogs.”
Terms from a recent Portofino lease indicate that all pets must be leashed and under control at all times, and that “American pit bull terriers, American bullies, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and any dogs that are cross breeds of or are related to such breeds are not permitted,” according to information shared with The Signal.
The Signal did not have a way to contact the owner of the pit bull as of the publication of this story. A representative for Portofino did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Sophia said she would like justice for her dogs, for the rules for the complex to be enforced, and help from the pit bull’s owner with the thousands of dollars in veterinary bills she and her fiancé now have to pay as a result of the emergency surgery Bozzy needed.
Ultimately, it looks like Bozzy will survive, she said, although he currently can’t stand on one of his legs. The status of the pit bull that was treated was not immediately available. A representative from the animal hospital was not immediately available.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials received the 911 call regarding the incident, according to Deputy Natalie Arriaga, spokeswoman for the station. However, due to the nature of the call, the matter was referred to Animal Care, she said.