Saturday, June 27, 1987

California: Edlyn Hauser, 37, arrested after her Pit Bull is seen attacking screaming Animal Control officer in video that has gone viral

CALIFORNIA -- The owner of a pit bull terrier that mauled a Los Angeles animal control officer investigating the dog's previous attack on a man and his young daughter was arrested Thursday on seven misdemeanor counts.

"I feel terrible that my dog bit people," said Edlyn Joy Hauser, 37, as she was led from her Glassell Park home by Los Angeles police and city Department of Animal Regulation investigators, "but it wasn't my fault. I didn't want the dog to bite anybody."

Deputy City Atty. Alice Hand said a male friend of Hauser was convicted of a felony for using the same pit bull to attack two men last year. Hand also said that former neighbors of Hauser on Gramercy Place in Hollywood signed a petition to have something done about the dog, Benjamin, after he allegedly attacked two other pet dogs, killing one of them.

Neighbor, Child Attacked

Warren Volpe, 43, Hauser's duplex neighbor and landlord who with his 7-year-old daughter, Brisa, was attacked by the 55-pound pit bull Sunday night, videotaped the arrest. He said he wanted to be able to show it to his daughter when she is older.

Volpe was angry that Hauser was not charged by the city attorney's office with more serious crimes. "She's released a weapon on myself, my child and an official of the city," he said. "And all you get is a misdemeanor. My God! This is not an innocent person. This is a psychopath."

Volpe, whose face and hands still bore cuts and whose arm was bandaged, told reporters that his daughter required 50 stitches after the attack.

Animal control officer Florence Crowell, 33, remained in Glendale Memorial Hospital, where a spokeswoman said she was in "good condition" and was resting comfortably after the vicious attack on her by the dog when she went to the Roderick Place address in Glassell Park on Monday morning to investigate the previous night's biting.

The pit bull was still in a city Department of Animal Regulation shelter cage Thursday, awaiting disposition of Hauser's case.

City attorney's office spokesman Mike Qualls said Hauser was taken to Northeast Division police station to be booked on three counts of assault with a deadly weapon (the dog), two counts of failure to exercise reasonable care with a dangerous dog trained to attack, and one count each of having a vicious dog on private premises and permitting a dangerous animal to be at large. Bail was set at $5,000.

She remained in Sybil Brand Institute late Thursday night.

Qualls said each of the state Penal Code counts carries a possible penalty of one year in jail and/or a $10,000 fine, while each of the other charges, under the Los Angeles Municipal Code, carries a possible penalty of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Although Hauser insisted that she had not intended for the dog to go after animal control officer Crowell on Monday morning, a KCBS television crew videotaped the scene, which was aired repeatedly that evening.

It showed Hauser calling to out to Officer Crowell:

"Benjamin is coming out. So if you don't want to get bitten, you better get out of here."

Moments later, the pit bull charged out of the open doorway and lunged at Crowell, severely injuring her hand and biting her in the chest until a neighbor beat him enough to make him stop.

As she was arrested on Thursday, Hauser appeared surprised and flustered. She wept a little and told the officers she wanted to talk to her attorney.

(Los Angeles Times - June 26, 1987)


Wednesday, June 24, 1987

California: Edlyn Hauser releases her Pit Bull to attack Animal Control officer while TV crew is filming

CALIFORNIA -- A pit bull raced out of a duplex in Glassell Park and attacked a city animal control officer Monday, savaging her hand in its jaw as she approached to investigate an incident in which two people were badly bitten, officials said.

The officer, Florence Crowell, 33, was able to get away from the dog with the help of a neighbor. But the dog attacked again, not trying to attack anyone but the officer - it was completely focused on her as its victim. It grabbed hold of Crowell's breast, chest and stomach before the officer was able to finally get away from the dog.

Neighbors called paramedics, who took Crowell to Glendale Memorial Hospital, where officials said she was being treated for wounds on both hands, wrists and chest.

Meanwhile, other animal control officers arrived, and the dog's owner, Edlyn Hauser (aka Joy Hauser), assisted them in subduing the pit bull and placing it in the truck's cage, said Michael E. Burns, Los Angeles animal control district supervisor.

The dog, Benjamin, which Hauser also calls Baby, was sedated and impounded at the Animal Control Center downtown, pending completion of the investigation.

'Seek a Death Warrant'

"We will seek a death warrant against the dog and may file felony charges against the owner," Burns said.

Officials said the dog had been impounded once before in late 1985 or early 1986 after attacking someone, but no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence.

Burns noted that there have been a rash of reports of pit bull attacks across the country in recent months, including a recent death in Northern California, and some people have called for banning the popular breed.

He also noted that the Los Angeles City Council is considering a tougher animal ordinance which would allow officers to impound dogs that are confined to property if they are considered a threat to public health and safety. Under current law, dogs must be running loose before officers can pick them up.

City Councilman Hal Bernson, author of the pending ordinance, called the attack on Crowell quite shocking and said he would ask the city attorney "to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

Crowell was at the duplex to investigate an incident that occurred Sunday evening. Juan Volpe, his wife and young daughter, who live in the rear unit, had returned home about 10 p.m. when, according to Volpe, the dog rushed out and attacked the girl, biting her leg.

Volpe told reporters that he hoisted his daughter, Brisa, 7, on top of the car and tried to fend the animal off but that he was bitten on his right hand, right forearm, right leg and face before Hauser pulled the animal away.

Volpe and his daughter were treated at a local hospital and released.

Hauser, who lives alone with the dog, said Monday that the 5-year-old pit bull attacked only because it thought she was being threatened.

"He only wanted to protect me," she said, weeping. "Now they want to kill my baby for that.

"Benjamin thought they were coming after me. He didn't know what all the noise was about. It was dark outside, and he couldn't see that well."

Hauser and neighbors, who declined to be identified, said Volpe knew the dog well and sometimes fed and played with it.

Other neighbors said that the pit bull had attacked other dogs in the neighborhood and that everyone was frightened of it.

Interviewed again late Monday, Hauser said she feared that authorities would show up to take the dog away after Sunday's attack, so she had planned to hide the animal at a friend's house. Crowell arrived just before 7:30 a.m.

"I did not sic Benjamin on her," Hauser said. "She (the animal control officer) was standing at the edge of the driveway, crunched over and waving a stick. I told her that she better be careful because Benjamin would attack if she kept waving the stick."

However, Hauser was proven to be a liar because it just so happened that a TV news crew was there and caught it all on tape - a horrific video that has since gone viral around the world.

A KCBS film crew, which was at the house for a report on Sunday's incident, videotaped the attack. The tape shows Hauser yelling at Crowell:

"Benjamin is coming out. So if you don't want to get bitten, you better get out of here."

The dog then burst out of the house, making a beeline for the officer and ignoring everyone else standing around. It latched its jaws onto the officer's hand. It also jumped up and grabbed her by the breast and stomach and began tugging while the officer screamed for help. 

A neighbor finally came and beat the dog off of her. And as it typical of Pit Bull attacks, the dog wasn't looking to attack everyone - just the target it had predetermined had to die.

"I agree this was a terrible thing, and I can't tell you how sorry I am that this happened. But I've raised Benjamin since the day he was born," Hauser said, pointing to a blanket she wrapped him in every night. "He's all I have, and now they're going to kill him."

(Los Angeles Times - June 23, 1987)