KYLE, Texas -- Two dog owners in Kyle will soon face felony charges after their four dogs nearly killed a neighbor. A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered animal control and others knew the dogs posed a danger months before the attack, but the pets remained with the owners.
Amy Jensen survived the mauling. She spent four agonizing days in the hospital with 40 staples in her head, an ear nearly torn off and bite marks all over her body.
"I know I'm lucky to be alive," said Jensen.
The attack happened June 11 steps away from her home while taking her dog, Jax, on a morning walk. When they turned the corner, the four large dogs were waiting after escaping from their backyard.
"They knocked me down, just charged at me," said Jensen. "They had my hair in their mouth and they were shaking my head and just biting me."
The four dogs tore Jax away from Jensen and killed him. "They were throwing him up in the air, like a little doll," said Jensen.
Through a press release, the city identified the four canines as "pit-bull mix dogs."
Jax was a snoodle, part miniature schnauzer and miniature poodle.
According to emails sent by Jensen and her neighbors, the company hired to manage the property's homeowners association, Goodwin Management, Inc., were aware of the problem.
Starting in October, Jensen emailed Goodwin that one female dog is "very aggressive." In April, another neighbor wrote "we feel hostage in our homes." A customer service representative for KB Home, the neighborhood developer, wrote to Goodwin that, "I think we are opening ourselves up to liability."
"I knew if those dogs got through and got to a kid, it would be bad news," said Rex McLane, who lives next door to Jensen. He added extra wood to his fence because the dogs repeatedly tried to get inside his backyard, in particular, a large female dog.
McLane believes the dogs were dangers. "Hell yes. She was just waiting to bite somebody," he said.
McLane, Jensen and several other neighbors tell the Defenders they complained to Kyle police and animal control for months but feel they got nowhere.
Two weeks before the attack, Jensen said the dogs were loose again and tried to bite her. She called animal control and sent Goodwin another email.
"I told them that night in my email. You are on notice now, if something happens to me or my dog, there will be hell to pay," Jensen said.
Immediately after the attack, Kyle Animal Control seized and euthanized the dogs. Afterwards, one of the owners, Danny Hernandez, posted on the neighborhood's Facebook page, "It was not our fault our dogs escaped."
He also posted, "I've trained my dogs to attack" if "physically confronted."
Hernandez later denied he ever trained his dogs to attack.
"I feel really sad about it," said his mother, Alba Mercado-Cruz.
On Monday, the KVUE Defenders also shared the pictures and emails with Kyle Animal Control. The city announced Wednesday plans to file felony charges against Mercado-Cruz and another owner, Daniel Vera.
Jerry Hendrix, spokesperson for the City of Kyle, would not speculate whether the city could have prevented the attack if it seized the dogs sooner.
"I can't speak directly to past events regarding this case because it's still under investigation, but I can say that for the city to come and take an individual's personal property is a pretty difficult thing to do," said Hendrix.
Hendrix said questions raised by the KVUE Defenders had nothing to do with the city's plans to file charges.
"The city has been investigating this since the day that it happened and as part of that investigation. We've been looking into all the actions that occurred," said Hendrix.
Jensen believes otherwise. "I think with [KVUE's] involvement, you pushed them to respond," Jensen said.
The city plans to file the charges against the dog owners Friday. Kyle does have a dangerous dog ordinance, but the four dogs involved in the attack did not qualify to be on the list.
The city ordinance requires the dog must have attacked a person or another pet at least once. Jensen said that ordinance needs to change to address dogs involved in multiple threats of attack.
Hendrix said the city is always reviewing its policies.
Goodwin Management, Inc. declined to answer questions for this story. "Pending litigation prevents us from commenting, however, on behalf of all of Ms. Jensen's neighbors, our hearts and prayers go out to her." wrote Jim Smitherman, a supervisor with the company.