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Calif. dog owner fights to reclaim pit bulls that killed a man and his pet

LOS ANGELES -- The owner of two pit bulls, which killed a man and his pet in Lincoln Heights last month, are fighting to get the dogs back from animal services, even after the dogs were deemed dangerous, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The pit bulls mauled Valentin Herrera, 76, and his little dog, Dodger, just a block from his house on Feb. 2. The victim died three weeks later. His pet was killed instantly.

The victim’s grandson, Joshua Herrera, told CBS Los Angeles that he was surprised and upset to hear that the dogs’ owner has filed an appeal to reclaim the animals, which are supposed to be put down.

“I just hope he [his grandpa] gets some type of justice,” said Herrera. “It just shows that they don’t care about how we feel as a family, the fact that we lost someone we love.”

The appeal came after some confusion about what had already happened to those dogs.

“Those dogs had been humanely euthanized,” Brenda Barnette, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, said when she spoke about the case at a commission meeting last week. She later acknowledged that she misspoke.

“There’s no way that she wouldn’t have known that there’s an appeal period for those animals,” said animal activist Phyllis Daughtery.

Valentin Herrera, 76, is seen in a photo provided to CBS Los Angeles after witnesses say he was attacked by two pit bulls in Los Angeles on Feb. 2, 2017.
Valentin Herrera, 76, is seen in a photo provided to CBS Los Angeles after witnesses say he was attacked by two pit bulls in Los Angeles on Feb. 2, 2017.

Herrera said he was more concerned about the fate of the dogs that killed his grandfather. “He’s gone. I’m no longer going to see him. Why should they see their dogs?” he asked.

The Herrera family said they plan to take legal action against the pit bulls’ owner, who was not available for comment Tuesday night.