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2 pit bulls use hole in fence to attack, kill cat

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POSTED May 31, 2012 1:38 a.m.

One of two pet cats was mauled to death in an attack by two pit bulls in the 1200 block of Yorkshire Way early Wednesday morning that neighbors said have routinely been getting out of their back yard through a hole in the fence.

Wendy Erickson said her cats normally sun themselves in the morning in her front yard after they have been fed.  She added that “Charlie,” the cat that had been killed would follow her family members on their daily walks through the neighborhood.

“Charlie was really like a dog,” she said.

Erickson said she was in her bathroom getting dressed when she heard screams from her cats and looked out to see the two pit bulls attacking them – one cat ran to the back yard and hid,  but Charlie was badly injured and died on the way to the Animal Clinic.

“I must have screamed for five minutes,” she said, “but nobody came out of their homes.”  With one exception, she said. The woman who owned the dogs was there and attempted to help her pull one dog away from the cat.

Animal Control Officer Peggy Miller responded to the scene and took the two pitbulls into custody and is planning to cite the dogs’ owners with the possession of vicious dogs within the city limits.

Erickson said the dogs had killed a stray cat in the past months, noting that the dog owners pleaded with her at the time not to call the animal control officer.  They said they would promise to keep the dogs in their back yard.

“If I had called my (5-year-old) cat would still be alive,” she said. The second cat “Baby Kitty” is 11 years old.  Erickson noted that she had bought wood for her neighbors to fix the hole in the fence, saying it had never been used to repair it simply because the dogs were usually kept on chains.

Officer Miller said the dogs would not be released to the owners until the city attorney has ruled on the charges, saying the incident will probably have to be decided in a courtroom.  A similar pit bull assault charge in Manteca took over a year to be heard by a judge and the suspect animal was kept at the pound the entire time it took for the court process to unfold before it was finally euthanized.

Neighbors said the pit bull owners have a total of five dogs in their back yard.

Miller said the dogs did not react to other dogs that walked by explaining that they apparently just don’t like cats.

She said the one dog was adopted as a puppy from the pound and was originally licensed but noted that the license had expired.  The second dog had not been licensed, she added.  Both dogs had been altered.

Should the owners of the dogs win their eventual release, they will have to pay back boarding costs and the licensing of both dogs, Miller added.

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