A North Natomas family is grieving the loss of a family member.
“Ernie is 8 years old, just love him. We took him everywhere with us — to the store, he was at our honeymoon, we just brought him everywhere we could go because he is that close of a family member to us,” the dog’s owner said.
Ernie is an 8-pound chihuahua.
Last Tuesday, the dog’s family was on their way back from Valley Oak Park in Natomas when two loose dogs came charging at them.
“My wife shielded my son in the stroller. And my little Ernie, my chihuahua, barked at the two attacking dogs, and one of the dogs attacked my dog,” the dog’s owner said.
His 2-year-old son was safe. But Ernie was mauled by one of the dogs.
After seeing the animals retreat to a nearby home, they rushed Ernie to the emergency vet.
“They did CPR on Ernie, they gave him some steroid shots and he passed away,” the dog’s owner said.
The family said they are still in disbelief. All of Ernie’s toys and treats are still left exactly where they were. The horrific moment keeps replaying in their heads.
“When the attack happened, just knowing what to do was very hard,” the dog’s owner said.
According to the City of Sacramento Animal Services, there are two protocols for dog bites.
If a person is bitten or is in imminent danger by an aggressive animal, call 911. If your pet was bitten by another animal, call 311.
“If there is a loose, aggressive dog in the community, we will make it a priority call and get an officer out there,” Bobby Mann of Front Street Animal Shelter said.
This incident is now being investigated by Sacramento Animal Control.
“We can do a potentially dangerous permit for somebody if it’s a one-time incident. And we investigate it. They are required to have special permitting to have the dog, have special licensing,” Mann said.
Ernie’s owner said the owner of the dogs involved in the attack is being cooperative with both his family and Animal Control.
He wanted Ernie’s story to help others to be more aware of their surroundings, including their own pets’ behavior.
“Dogs are not legally allowed to be free roaming. So make sure you are checking your fences, they have their collars and IDs on. Just because a dog acts a certain way at home, it does not mean it will act the same way when it is out alone,” Mann said.
“Take this as a lesson to be more alert when you’re out there,” the dog’s owner said.