Walter Mencken 2:08 p.m., Aug. 27
Owners of dogs that killed housecleaner will not be charged
Five dogs were destroyed and three dogs from the Fallbrook home were adopted out
There will be no charges brought against the owners of eight dogs that reportedly caused the death of a housecleaner in Fallbrook last year, according to a spokesman with the San Diego County Department of Animal Services.
“After a thorough investigation we have come to the conclusion that, although this was a terrible tragedy, there is no evidence to support criminal charges,” said Lieutenant Harold Holmes, who released a statement last week.
In January 2013, a letter was sent to dog owners Edgar and Evelyn Hernandez informing them they were not facing any charges. In that letter, Lt. Holmes did note that the Hernandezes do not possess any dogs “currently,” and his department reserved the right to pursue action “in the event of a significant change in circumstance at your residence.”
Another letter informed the Hernandezes that they owed $5,899.89 for “costs of seizure and care for all the animals.” All eight dogs on the property were seized on November 11, 2012. Five of the dogs were apparently euthanized in early 2013, and three of the dogs were adopted or rescued by another organization.
Edgar and Evelyn Hernandez lived in one of the homes on a 5-acre-property at 1305 Calle Tecolotlan in the northern part of San Diego County; the estate is said to be owned by Edgar Hernandez’ father.
One female dog named “Snub” was found in a crate at the home, according to Lt. Holmes, and officials concluded that dog could not have been part of the attack on the 30-year-old woman who was found dead on the property. That dog was adopted, according to Lt. Holmes.
Two other dogs, named “Pilsbury” and “Buttah,” were described as “puppies” and were adopted from the Gaines Street animal shelter in January and February of 2013. Officials would not clarify if it was individuals or another rescue organization that took the three dogs who survived.
The euthanized dogs included a 54 pound male, a 57 pound female, an 82 pound female, a 98 pound male, and a 103 pound male. The owners of the dogs were said to be producing a breed of dog called “Olde English Bulldogges,” by crossing pit bulls with other, larger dogs. Investigators referenced a website which advertised these dogs for sale, in their reports.
The 30-year-old victim
A report by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office stated that a Mexican citizen named Remedios Romero-Solares was the victim of the fatal dog attack. She was described as 30-years-old and 5 feet tall and 133 pounds.
The victim’s cousin, named Evelina Chavez, told investigators that she dropped her cousin off at the home to do housecleaning about 8 a.m. on November 10, 2012. When Evelina returned later that same day, after 5 p.m., her cousin Remedios told her she wasn’t finished yet and to come back the next day.
Remedios Romero-Solares and her cousin Evelina Chavez were said to be roommates at apartments on Alturas Lane, in Fallbrook.
Evelina said when she returned the next day, the front door was locked so she walked around to a side gate and she saw blood droplets there. She also noticed a watering hose extended from the garage area out into a side yard; the hose was still running and the area was flooded and muddy. Next Evelina noticed sunglasses lying in the yard and then she saw a pile of bloody clothing. Nearby was the body.
There was speculation that Remedios had tried to break up a dog fight by using the hose. Lt. Harold Holmes stated that a dog fight could have started over “breeding rights,” since all the dogs on the property were “intact.” He said, “It is never a good idea to leave a group of intact dogs of both sexes together unsupervised.” He said a number of large, unrestrained, “intact” dogs without control “is a recipe for disaster.”
All of the dogs taken from the property were noted to be “underweight” in reports, and the lieutenant did note that a dog fight could have started over food.
Reports stated that the deceased woman was found in a back corner of the property, on the ground, under a stand of banana palms. The body appeared to have been “dragged.” She was wearing only panties, her clothes appeared to have been stripped off and were found in a bloody heap nearby; the clothes were inside-out and tightly bound up. Investigators were alarmed to see a thin strap of webbing tightly wrapped around the woman’s neck; during autopsy later it was carefully loosed and discovered to be a lanyard with a single house key on the end. The body had a particularly large, gaping wound on the right thigh; this area was described as “defleshed” in the autopsy report.
Tests showed Remedios Romero-Solares had zero drugs and zero alcohol in her system.
The autopsy report declared the manner of death to be “accident,” and the cause of death “multiple penetrating, mauling, and blunt force injuries.”
The woman who found the body and and called for help, Evelina Chavez, was able to put away several of the large dogs into kennels so that emergency personnel could enter the property. Evelina told officials that she and her cousin Remedios routinely came to the property to clean and care for the dogs while the owners were away, and that Remedios was very familiar with the dogs and was able to handle them “without any problems.”
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