Madera police have arrested two homeless individuals on charges of failure to control a dangerous animal and involuntary manslaughter in the December death of Lasaro Macedo, whom the two knew.
Macedo was also homeless, and allegedly attacked and mauled to death late on the night of December 10th by a dog or dogs owned and kept in the Fresno River bed.
During the investigation Heather Anglin, 35 and Aaron Daniels, 40 were found to have been responsible for the care and control of the pitbull mix dog that mauled Macedo beyond recognition that night in the tall brush of the riverbed and caused his death, according to police.
The fatal attack was reportedly heard and reported by other homeless people nearby by, but officers were unable to locate the scene or Macedo in the dense overgrowth. Macedo’s body was found the next morning by firefighters responding to a small nearby brush fire.
The white male pit bull charged officers twice while they investigating the incident scene and officers said they had to shoot the dog several times to stop its attack. The dog was found to have blood from Macedo dried on its face and muzzle after DNA tests were returned.
Sgt. Mark Trukki said it was not known how many or if any other dogs were involved in the fatal attack but authorities found five other dogs of various small and medium breeds tied to adjacent trees, and were believed to be owned by other homeless people in the area. Those dogs were also removed and taken to the Madera County animal shelter, Trukki said.
“This department takes this issue seriously,” Trukki said. “Any residents seeing large, loose aggressive dogs should beware and report them to the police department and animal control immediately,” he said.
Anglin, chronically homeless, had allegedly been the owner of another large pit bull dog that mauled another homeless man about the face and neck in the riverbed area north of Tozer Avenue several years before, but that man survived after several surgeries. No charges were brought in that incident.
Daniels was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.
Area residents have long complained about the overgrowth in the riverbed which they claim attracts the homeless encampments and allows the large, or loose dogs owned by the homeless, claiming they are reluctant or even afraid to walk the river bed area alone, with their children or pets because of the fear of possibility of being attacked.
After the mauling death of Macedo several subsequent sweeps of the Fresno River bed by police and animal control officers resulted in the surrender of two other potentially dangerous, medium to large dogs kept or abandoned in the overgrowth of the brush.