Weeks After Loose Dogs Mauled Her Yorkie to Death, Arlington Woman Continues to Live in Fear

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An Arlington woman says she’s been living in fear in her own neighborhood since two dogs got loose and mauled her Yorkie to death.

Gloria Norman says she’s also frustrated at the slow action taken by the city.

The attack happened on Feb. 26, along Villanova Street in Arlington, according to police.

On Friday, March 24, Arlington Animal Services posted a letter on the door of the man who owns the dogs notifying him his two dogs, Rose and Jack, have been deemed ‘dangerous dogs’ after it was determined they ‘engaged in an unprovoked act which caused a person to reasonably believe that the dog(s) was going to attack and cause bodily injury.’

Norman says she saved the Yorkie named Coco from being put down by her previous owners 12 years ago and that Coco has been her constant companion ever since.

“She wasn’t just a pet, she was part of my family,” said Norman.

Norman says she had just returned home that Sunday evening after being away all weekend and wanted to take Coco for a walk.

Coco loved walks and quickly ran to the door.

Norman says she was walking down Villanova Street in her neighborhood when she noticed a man in an SUV driving by slowly.

She says the man drove away but came back around with his driver’s side door open.

She noticed two large dogs running behind his SUV when they suddenly saw her and Coco and darted toward them.

“They were jumping at my throat, trying to attack me,” she said. “They got [Coco] and they were tossing her around like she was a little feather. It was both of them, back and forth, back and forth. It was devastating.”

She says neither she nor the dogs’ owner, who walked over during the attack, could separate the dogs from Coco.

Police responded but did not charge the owner of the dogs with a crime, as police are quite limited by state laws that focus largely on dog attacks on humans, according to APD’s spokesman Tim Ciesco.

Norman was not seriously injured in the attack.

However, she says she fears walking around her neighborhood, even tending to her yard out of fear the dogs will get loose and attack her again.

“They’re still here,” she said.

Norman walked NBC 5 over to the house where she says the dogs live and are currently being kept in the garage.

NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero could hear two dogs barking inside. Norman says she hears the barking from her home.

“It just brings me back and it terrifies me,” she said.

No one answered the door Friday afternoon.

According to the determination by Arlington Animal Services, the dogs’ owners have 15 days to appeal and 30 days to come into compliance or surrender the dogs.

In order to come into compliance, the owner will have to complete several requirements including registering the dogs as ‘dangerous dogs’ with the city, and restraining them in a secure enclosure inspected and approved by animal services.

They must also obtain or continue liability insurance coverage to cover costs in case of any future attacks.

The city provided NBC 5 with information dog owners in Arlington need to know:

"We all need to practice responsible pet ownership and ensure our pets are (1) contained (by leash, fence, kennel, etc), (2) pets must be vaccinated according to state law for rabies, and (3) you can be held responsible, either civilly or criminally for your pet(s) actions."

In cases that are animal-on-animal attacks, the victim/owner can file civilly, but if a person is attacked and injured there are more stringent consequences.

Loose animals, aggressive or not, can always be reported to Animal Services. The department will help residents navigate the direction in which to go if things are escalated, as with this instance."

Still grieving the death of her ‘furbaby,’ Norman claims the city is not doing enough to enforce laws and should take dog-on-dog attacks more seriously, especially in neighborhoods with children and schools nearby.

“It’s going to take death for them to do something,” she said.

For more information on requirements for the owner in a Dangerous Dogs case click here.

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