1 Dead, 1 Critical after Dog Mauling

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MODESTO-

For a second time Wednesday, folks living at 828 Glenn Avenue in Modesto made a run from FOX40 cameras.

Those folks were leaving the home where four pit bulls escaped one night before - mauling their 77-year-old next door neighbor and her son in their yard.

That son, 59-year-old Juan Fernandez, has died from the wounds he suffered as three pits bit him while another circled.

His mother Maria remains in critical condition at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

The dogs were shot soon after the attack by deputies.

"I've never seen anything like this in the history of my career - four dogs simultaneously attacking and killing a human being," said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.

Deputies say the Fernandez family and the dog owners shared a common fence and had disputes over the pits in the past.

For those who choose to own dogs that are what the sheriff calls 'house and family protective,' he has a very stern message.

"You know that there's the possibility that that dog may bite someone - it's in those owners' best interest to  make sure that they protect themselves and they secure their animals," he warned.

Christianson says yet another deadly incident with this breed has polarized the neighborhood.

"It is has created an emotionally charged issue," he said.

While Sheriff Christianson calls the pit bull breed dangerous and unpredictable, just down the street from the mauling scene Randy Smith has no problem having his actual babies play ball with his dog 'Baby Girl.'

"I trust this dog with my kids' lives," he said.

He also believes what happened to the Fernandez family wasn't about the pit bulls.

"That's just an owner that shows no love to a dog," he said.

In order for the owners of the killer pits to face criminal penalties they would have to be proven negligent.

In August a  Southern California man was found guilty of second degree murder after his pet mauled a woman to death in Littlerock.

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