For The Madera Tribune
Police have located Heather Anglin, who is homeless and allegedly the owner of the pit bull that fatally mauled a homeless man in the Fresno River bed area of Cleveland Avenue and Raymond Road.
A homeless Madera woman, Heather Anglin, 34, is suspected as the owner of the pit bull dog that fatally mauled a homeless man in the Fresno River bed near the area of Cleveland Avenue and Raymond Road, according to the Madera Police Department.
Anglin was found by police and is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.
The victim of the fatal mauling has been identified as 38-year-old Lasaro Macedo of Madera.
Macedo was found dead Monday morning with massive bite wounds to his face, head, neck and arms, and was so badly btten and torn by the dog that he had to be identified by the few tattoos that remained intact, according to police. The autopsy confirmed Macedo died as the result of the attack by the dog, according to Sgt. Mark Trukki, and the blood on the dog was determined to be Macedo’s.
The large, loose white male pit bull with blood still on his muzzle, was shot and killed at the scene after the second time it charged at police officers. The dog had been neutered according to records at animal control. Five other smaller pit bulls that were tied nearby were impounded by Madera County animal control, along with a Chihuahua.
According to authorities, the dog attack was the reportedly the second time large pit bulls allegedly kept by Anglin had seriously attacked someone in the same river bed encampment area near the Tozer Bridge on the north side of the city. In 2017 another pack of large dogs allegedly kept by Anglin attacked and pulled down a man near the same area. That man sustained major bite wounds to his face, arms and neck, but survived after multiple surgeries. The homeless, some with mental health or addiction issues, often keep large dogs for protection and companionship, according to authorities.
Residents in the area of the Fresno River bed have long complained to authorities that the overgrowth of dense brush allows the large homeless encampments in the river bed area and say they do not feel safe, and are plagued by constant vegetation fires, thefts, debris, panhandling, drug and prostitution activity they attribute to the homeless lifestyle
Other residents have characterized the river bed area as an out of control war zone, a jungle ... where anything goes after dark, and point out it is an area frequented by parents and children walking to the nearby Millview Elementary School.
The riverbed area is controlled and operated under multiple jurisdictions, which residents say impedes the cleanup or beneficial operation of the river area.
A large explosion from the same area of homeless encampments rocked residents windows Tuesday night about 7:30, according to April Molina, a longtime advocate of cleaning up the nearby river bed area. The Madera fire department characterized the explosion as a spot fire involving propane tanks and aerosol cans, which residents claim often indicate drug labs or other illegal activity.
“I think it’s obvious what we’ve been doing (regarding the riverbed) isn’t working.” Molina said. “It’s time for all the different agencies to come together. Communication is key. Form a coalition of sorts ... We have a dead man and a (drug lab) explosion in the Fresno River (bed). It’s time to think outside the box.” Molina said.
Trukki said Anglin could face serious criminal charges if they can prove intent or negligence, but information and witnesses in the river bed were difficult to locate and often not cooperative.