3 in family arrested in pit bull mauling

Sept. 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM
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LAS CRUCES, N.M., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The Las Cruces, N.M., grandparents and father of a 15-month-old victim of a fatal attack by the family pit bull have been arrested and charged, police said.

Jazilyn Nevaeh Mesa's death in May was under investigation by Las Cruces police detectives and prosecutors of the 3rd Judicial District Attorney's Office, the Las Cruces, N.M., Sun-News reported, and Monday resulted in the arrest of grandfather Arthur Mesa Sr. and father Jesus Mesa on one count each of possession of a dangerous dog resulting in death, and grandmother Leticia Mesa for negligent child abuse resulting in death.

Police were called to the Mesas' home May 8 after a neighbor reported hearing the girl screaming for help. The neighbor, Barry Snyder, retrieved a handgun from his home, called 911 and ran to the back yard, where his first shot is believed to have missed the dog and struck the grandmother in the leg. Snyder later killed the dog with additional gunfire, the newspaper said.

Jazilyn died at Mountain View Regional Medical Center. The grandmother was taken to an El Paso hospital, the newspaper said.

Investigators said they learned the dog had previously exhibited aggressive behavior toward neighbors and their dogs, and had previously attacked another dog belonging to the family. A veterinarian also told detectives the pit bull showed signs of aggression when treated at the office.

The New Mexico Medical Examiner's Office found the child, who weighed 23 pounds, had received multiple injuries to her head, face, torso, arms and legs.

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