Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the location of the attack.
A vicious attack by two dogs last Friday morning left an 80-year-old woman dead, and now questions have arisen regarding whether or not that particular dog breed should be kept as a pet.
Deputies with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said they were called to the area of Vinton Street and Mesa Road in Baldy Mesa at around 11 a.m.
The victim, Soon Han, had been out on her morning walk when she was attacked.
First responders discovered the 80-year-old unresponsive in the dirt roadway and believe she was attacked by two dogs from a nearby home.
The news came as a shock to neighbors who saw Han walking almost every day.
“Makes me really, really emotional because she was really friendly,” said a neighbor identified only as Guadalupe.
Guadalupe said she’s seen the two dogs roaming freely and that she’s closed her gate when they are near to protect her small children and four dogs.
“I see them roaming, probably got out, but as an owner, we should be responsible for our own dogs,” Guadalupe told KTLA. “We should notice when they’re not inside the house or outside.”
Han unfortunately died at the scene. Flowers still decorate the area.
San Bernardino County Animal Control responded and took both dogs into custody pending the investigation. Authorities said both dogs are Dogo Argentinos, a breed that experts say was created nearly a century ago to protect family and property.
“A house pet is not what they’re bred to be, and there’s photos of them with children. You’re going to see that. It’s not about that or that it couldn’t be nice to its family. It’s about anyone that walks near that property could be facing a life-or-death situation. ” Colleen Lynn, president of DogsBite.org, a dog bite victims advocacy organization.
Lynn told KTLA that the breed is growing in popularity, especially in California. She believes that as the population increases, so will attacks. She also said that it’s the owner’s responsibility to keep the dogs secure.
“These dogs should have been securely in a pen or something like this, should not have been wandering around. I don’t care how rural it is,” Lynn said.
The Dogo Argentino Club of America, the officials AKC Parent Club for the Dogo Argentino in the United States, released a statement to KTLA that reads:
“The Dogo Argentino is a strong, tenacious and rustic breed that was created in the 1920s in Argentina to protect family and property, as well as to hunt large game.
The breed is a faithful companion at home and in the hunting field. Today, the Dogo Argentino is still used in hunting all around the world. Dogos are also very intelligent, natural guardians and family companions and very trainable in the right home. The breed is for an owner with large breed experience. Dogos need a home that provides an outlet for exercise and training with strong boundaries. Aggression is not tolerated. They love pleasing their family and can be very affectionate.
With diligent training along with mental and physical stimulation, the Dogo Argentino makes an excellent dog for skilled owners who enjoy a loyal, high-energy working breed. It is imperative to find a reputable breeder and mentor when considering the breed.”