Hector Valadez, 43, of Corona, demonstrates how he smacked the side of his car to try to scare away two pit bulls that were circling the vehicle early Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, and tried to attack him when he got out. The dogs were shot as they charged at Corona police who responded to Valadez's call for help.
Corona police on Monday morning, Oct. 5, shot two pit bulls to death that had been terrorizing a neighborhood since they dug out of their yard Saturday.
The officers fired when the dogs charged, Sgt. Paul Mercado said.
Monday's incident was the second time in 20 months that the dogs had harassed city residents, he said.
The dogs were a 60-pound, 6-year-old male named Blue, and a 45-pound, 5-year-old female named Zoey, Mercado said. They escaped their home in the 100 block of Cota Street by tunneling beneath a fence.
About 3:15 a.m. Sunday, a man reported being bitten on the leg by a dog he later identified as one of those that had escaped. The attack happened near the intersection of Merrill and Railroad streets, a couple of blocks from the dogs' home.
On Monday, a woman on Agnes Street, almost two miles away, was trapped in her car by the dogs. She did not initially report the incident to police, Mercado said.
Then about 5:40 a.m., officers responded to a report of two aggressive pit bulls that would not allow the residents out of a home in the 1300 block of Agnes. The officers saw the dogs enter the back yard of a different home and attempt to enter it through a window and a sliding glass door.
When the officers entered the yard to try to prevent the dogs from getting inside, the dogs ran toward the officers, who shot the dogs to protect themselves and others, Mercado said.
"The officers didn't take any pleasure in shooting the dogs," Mercado said.
The shooting has been determined to be within department policy, which allows officers to use deadly force against animals when the officers or others are threatened, Mercado said. The officers were not placed on leave.
The owners of the dogs, Ralph and Gloria Rodriguez, told police that they escaped Saturday, Mercado said. The owners were cited Monday on suspicion of violating leash and licensing laws, Mercado said. The dogs were not licensed in the city as required, Mercado said.
A city Animal Control officer was able to trace the dogs back to the owner because she remembered them from a February 2014 incident in which they frightened a bicyclist into crashing near Railroad and Cota, Mercado said.
The owners were cited on suspicion of violating leash laws in that incident, Mercado said.