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Medical Examiner says Fallbrook woman killed by dogs; rules death ‘accidental;’ canines now described as American Bulldogs

Friday, November 16th, 2012
Issue 46, Volume 16.
Debbie Ramsey
Staff Writer

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office has reported that an autopsy conducted on a 30-year-old Fallbrook woman found dead Sunday evening, Nov. 11, revealed she was killed by dogs on the property. In the report, it states her cause of death as "accidental" and cites "multiple penetrating, mauling, and blunt force injuries."

Based on evidence at the scene, it appears the single, Hispanic woman, who was house-sitting for the owners of the property, may have been trying to break up a fight between some canines now described as "American Bulldogs" when she was fatally injured.

"At the scene, the Medical Examiner thought it looked like she had tried to break up a fight between dogs that were loose on the property when they turned on her," said Sheriff’s Detective Dan Laibach.

Laibach said there were a total of eight dogs on the property and that the individual who found the victim was able to put six back in cages, but could not catch two of the canines.

"A garden hose was also found (running) near the victim, so it is thought the woman may have been trying to break up a dogfight with the hose," said Laibach.

Laibach reported that authorities at the scene initially felt it looked like the woman had been bitten in the femoral artery and "bled out."

"After that, it appears that the dogs chewed on her," he added.

Authorities previously said that if the woman’s death was attributed to the Advertisement
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canines, the case would be turned over to the San Diego County Dept. of Animal Control.

"If the dogs are deemed dangerous, they could be put down," said Laibach, who confirmed that animal control authorities currently have all eight dogs from the property impounded.

The Department of Animal Control will continue the investigation to determine whether or not any criminal charges will be filed against the homeowners.

The woman’s remains were discovered by a female family member, authorities said, who placed an emergency call that day about 5:15 p.m. after she went to check on the woman’s welfare.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jenkins said that responding deputies had to call in animal control officers to secure the canines.

Authorities said that when deputies checked the residence for any other victims on the date of the incident, they discovered that marijuana was being grown in a rear bedroom.

"The marijuana grow consisted of 24 plants." It was stated that investigators with the Narcotics Task Force were called in to seize the grow operation and they will be handling that investigation.

Laibach said local deputies did respond to a call at the same property in 2010 when it was reported that a canine on the property had bitten a pizza delivery person.

"Other than that, we have not responded to any other complaints at that house," said Laibach.

The full name of the victim has still not been released, but it appears her last name was Romero.



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