El Paso family wants answers after their Chihuahua was killed by neighbor's dogs
EL PASO, Texas —
A Northeast El Paso family is demanding justice after their dog was mauled by two others. The Donovan family says the incident happened last Tuesday while Daniella and her boyfriend Isaiah Brown were walking to the mailbox.
The couple says as they started walking back, their neighbor’s husky and pit bull attacked Moppet the Chihuahua.
“Within seconds, both dogs had successfully broken free of their chains and were all over her,” Brown said. “It happened so fast.”
Moppet serves as an emotional support dog for Donovan.
“I have really bad anxiety and she helps me when I'm having an attack,” she said.
Donovan also suffers from bipolar disorder.
Brown says he quickly began trying to pull the dogs off of Moppet, first getting the husky off.
“The husky lashed out and grab me on the arm and bit me on the arm,” Brown said.
Brown says one of the dogs' owners grabbed the husky and he started to try to get the pit bull off of Moppet.
Finally, Brown and Donovan were able to free Moppet. Brown scooped her up and started running back to the family’s trailer. But Brown says the dogs tried to attack once again.
“The pit bull has bit me on my chin, and the worst part about it, they didn't have any of their shots,” he said.
The couple rushed the dog to a local veterinarian, then to an emergency animal clinic to get Moppet treated.
“It's very emotional to see the mess that was the aftermath. She couldn't breathe, she had blood coming out of her face. The left side of her face was swollen, her jaw was broken, her trachea was ripped wide open, she had internal bleeding, but she still had fight even to the end,” said Norma Donovan, Daniella’s mother.
The family says the veterinarian told them that the best thing to do was to put Moppet down.
“She was family in every sense of the word. We all loved her,” said Norma Donovan. “She was just the sweetest thing.”
The family says the veterinary bills added up quickly.
“We incurred medical bills $300 at the Northeast Animal Clinic and $123 to cremate her,” said Norma Donovan.
Brown also had to be treated for dog bites since the family says neither one of their neighbors’ dogs had been vaccinated. Brown still needs two more shots that the family says cost $700 each.
Because dogs are considered property in Texas, owners whose animals are attacked can only take civil action.
“We don't have money to afford an attorney,” Brown said.
Brown wants the owners of the husky and pit bull to take responsibility for the damage their animals caused.
“He hasn't said anything about it, no apologies. He hasn't had the dignity to clean up the mess,” Brown said, pointing out blood still on a fence post near their neighbor’s property.
However, one of the men who lives in the trailer said the dogs are not to blame.
“They walk the dog right here next to our dog that was leashed up without a leash,” Ivan Sias said. “They (Animal Services) didn't give them tickets for not having a leash.”
He claims the family cuts through his property.
“They cut through here to go to the mailbox every single day,” Sias said.
Sias said he’s never had any issues with the dogs in the past and even has a Chihuahua of his own that the dogs don’t bother.
More importantly, Sias said his is the only property where the mobile park owners removed the fence from the front yard recently, which he says could have prevented this incident altogether.
“We're the only ones without a fence. We don't know why. It's the maintenance guy, we don't know why they did that,” he said.
Animal Services did come out to investigate the incident. It has placed both dogs in quarantine and issued several citations to the owners for not having the dogs registered, not having them vaccinated and not having them microchipped, according to Sias.
Investigators will now need to determine if the dogs are dangerous.
“If the dog is deemed dangerous, it will have, the owner will have to go through some requirements,” said Animal Services Operations Supervisor Hugo Navarro. “Within 30 days, one of the requirements is you have to register your dog as a dangerous dog, you have to provide insurance for $100,000 for bodily injury and you have to put signs saying dangerous dog on premises. And then animal care officers have to do the investigation and that's done annually.”
Owners whose dogs are deemed dangerous have 15 days to appeal the ruling.
But the Donovans say that’s not enough.
“I want this dog put down I want them put down plain and simple. I mean after they've already been aggressive there's no going back,” Norma Donovan said.