Man Charged in Pit Bull Pack Mauling

VALLEY CENTER — A 40-year-old man has been charged with four misdemeanors after a pack of pit bulls he was caring for mauled two brothers from a well-known family of runners, the San Diego District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

Jose Ledesma has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to protect the public from dogs and two misdemeanor counts of failing to restrain a dog. He was arraigned Tuesday.

Ledesma was caring for a friend’s pit bulls at the time of the attack, the district attorney’s office said.

In November, John and Richard Garritson were running with family members along a trail in the hills of Valley Center when they were attacked by as many as six dogs. The dogs were roaming free in the area, they told San Diego 6.

Both brothers sustained serious injuries and had to be airlifted to a hospital.

John, 21, and Richard Garritson, 22, are members of a well-known family of runners which has been featured in several national running magazines.

Their injuries, mainly to their legs, have slowed their training, they told San Diego 6.

John Garritson says his injuries have forced him to take time off from school. His medical bills are mounting, and he’s now considering bankruptcy. He didn’t have medical insurance at the time of the attack, he said. He’s now seeking donations online to help cover the expenses.

Ledesma faces up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted of all the charges. A readiness hearing in the case has been scheduled for September 24th and a jury trial is set for October 15th.


“We’ve seen a spate of cases involving dog attacks of various breeds in San Diego County and this latest cases is a reminder that the law is very clear—owners are responsible for protecting the public from their dogs, especially if the animals have a history of being aggressive,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

In June of this year, an 8-month old Lemon Grove boy died after being bitten by a pit bull.  Last year, an elderly San Diego woman was mauled by a pit bull and died from her injuries. In that incident, two women have been charged by the District Attorney’s Office with involuntary manslaughter. 

In 2010, a mail carrier in Oceanside was attacked by a Rottweiler and died from his injuries. That same year, a 2-year-old boy mauled by a German shepherd mix in a military housing complex in San Diego also died.

“The danger is not in the breed, it is in the owner or caretaker who fails to ensure that the dog is safely confined, socialized and supervised,” said Director of County Animal Services Dawn Danielson. 

From July 1, 2011 to June 30 of 2012 there were 2,921 dog bites reported to the County’s Department of Animal Services. Of those, 640 are attributed to unknown breeds, 399 to pit bulls, 196 to labrador retrievers and 172 to chihuahuas.



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