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Sentences handed down in dog maulings

June 6, 2011 at 1:53 PM

FONTANA, Calif., June 6 (UPI) -- A couple that owned of a group of dogs that mauled three children in California was sentenced to four years and four months in state prison, authorities said.

Judith Mendez Lopez and her husband Jose Lopez Gonzalez of Fontana, Calif., were sentenced in Fontana Superior Court, the San Bernardino Sun reported last week.

Prosecutors say a mother and her children were attacked by five dogs, including a 91-pound mastiff and pit bull mixes, Feb. 1, 2010, as they walked along the railroad tracks in Fontana.

The dogs escaped from the backyard of the home of Lopez and Gonzalez, using well-worn holes dug underneath a fence, prosecutors said.

The children's mother, Josephine Arellano, told the court she had felt helpless as the dogs attacked her children, who still have nightmares and bear scars from the mauling.

"I don't think my children will ever be the same," Arellano said.

Lopez, speaking to the court through a Spanish interpreter, said she was remorseful and apologized.

"Unfortunately, I cannot change what happened," Lopez said. "I would like to be able to do so. I'm sorry for everything that happened."

Gonzalez asked the court if he could serve the prison time for both his wife and himself but Judge Arthur Harrison denied the request, saying both defendants were equally culpable.

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