MAGALIA, Calif. – Two women are recovering from multiple surgeries after being attacked by dogs in Northern California’s Butte County Thursday.
Gary Parsons told KTXL he was in his own front yard when he had to run from a threat that had chased him before – nine loose dogs from his next door neighbor’s property were coming after him.
He had no idea that, as he slammed the door on the clawing threat, his neighbor across the street would soon become their next target.
“Her whole backside, her butt, her legs, her back. They almost got her main artery in her neck,” Parsons said.
That woman was Sarah Davi. Her husband Tony said his wife had no idea one woman had already been mauled and was on her way to the hospital when she came out to see about the dogs on the loose. His wife ended up mauled and pinned down with the dogs biting her back.
Four other dogs, described by neighbors as black Labrador retriever-pit bull mixes, were quarantined at the home of their owner, 64-year-old Peter Ricca. They did not get out during the attack.
The nine others that did were running loose before the attacks were later taken into county custody.
At the time, Ricca was in court answering to 13 infractions and misdemeanors from the last three years, all dealing with his dogs from biting incidents to lacking rabies shots and registration problems.
The officers with Ricca raced back to his neighborhood along with him as they all learned of the mauling.
A woman who was reportedly supposed to be watching the dogs while Ricca was at his hearing somehow let them out and became their first victim. She sustained major injuries and required surgery.
Both Tony Davi and Parsons said they and other neighbors have reported Ricca and his dogs to the county for years but nothing ever seems to improve.
“When I talked to the sheriff I said, ‘What are my rights?’ I says, ‘I got to protect myself,'” Parsons said. “He says, ‘If you’re in your yard you have the right to protect yourself.’ So I said, ‘Well then I’m gonna carry.’ I said, ‘I’ll shoot ’em.'”
Ricca could not be reached for comment. The communications manager for Butte County Public Health, which oversees animal control, said Ricca was not under arrest Thursday night and their office would not be commenting further until their investigation is complete.