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Dog Owners Arrested in Severe Dog Mauling

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June 29, 2011

The owners of two pit bull dogs that attacked and seriously injured a 75-year-old woman were arrested today for owning dogs that caused serious bodily injury, a felony. 

Carla and Alba Cornelio (ages 19 and 39 respectively) were taken into custody after an arrest warrant was issued following an investigation by County animal control officers into the June 18 incident.

“This was a terrible incident that we believe could have and should have been prevented,” said Dawn Danielson, Director of County Animal Services. “Dog owners have a responsibility to socialize and properly care for their pets by making them a part of a family. In addition, they have a legal and moral duty to prevent their dogs from injuring people.”

Animal Services’ records indicate that both dogs had previously attacked a neighbor dog and, in the process, bitten the other dog’s owner in the leg last Christmas. While the Cornelios paid for the veterinary bills, they did not take sufficient steps to prevent another occurrence.

In the June 18 incident, neighbor Emako Mendoza was attacked while she walked in her backyard after retrieving the morning paper. The dogs apparently entered the Mendoza’s yard through a gap in the fence separating the two residences. Ms. Mendoza remains hospitalized after losing her left leg to the injuries. Both dogs were surrendered for euthanasia by the Cornelios.

Both women will be held in County Jail on a $900,000 bail.  

For more information on the Department of Animal Services and animal-related laws, contact the County Department of Animal Services at (619) 767-2675 or visit