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Woman charged in fatal Golden dog attack last September pleads guilty

golden dog attack
Posted at 12:16 PM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-28 19:09:10-04

UPDATE | April 3 — Victor Bentley pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog and was sentenced to a stipulated two-year deferred judgment, with an agreement to 100 hours of public service and no dog ownership for one year (and then one dog under 20 pounds per household for the two years). He must also enroll in a dog ownership class, the district attorney's office said.

This is the same sentence his co-defendant, Kayla Mooney, received in March. That story is below.

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DENVER — A woman whose pit bull was involved in an attack that injured a young boy and killed his great-grandmother in Golden last September pleaded guilty to the charges against her earlier this month.

Kayla Mooney, 33, pleaded guilty on March 6 to two counts of unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog, according to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office. She was sentenced to a stipulated two-year deferred judgment, with an agreement to 100 hours of public service and no dog ownership for one year (and then one dog under 20 pounds per household for the two years). In addition, she must enroll in a dog ownership class, the district attorney's office said.

The case against her co-defendant, Victor Bentley, is still pending. He has an arraignment set for April 4.

Mooney and Bentley, who were in a relationship at the time of the attack, were charged in October after their two pit bulls attacked a 12-year-old boy and his 88-year-old great-grandmother on Sept. 14 along the 15700 block of W. 1st Avenue in Golden, according to the Golden Police Department. (Previously, police reported the great-grandmother was 89 years old, but police confirmed her age as 88 with Denver7 in September.)

Golden dog attack sparks concerns about other attacks, measures taken to control dangerous animals

According to the suspects' arrest affidavits, Mooney's son and grandmother were the victims in the attack.

That day, the boy ran to his neighbor's house and told the person his great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Gehring, was being attacked in the backyard. The boy had also been bitten, according to the arrest affidavits.

Police were dispatched and found a trail of blood leading into the home. When they went to the backyard, they found the two dogs attacking Gehring and could see she was seriously injured. Police would later learn one dog belonged to Mooney and the other belonged to Bentley, according to an affidavit.

One of the dogs, which belonged to Mooney, saw the officers and charged at them, according to an affidavit. The officer used less-lethal ammunition to keep the dog away. The other dog, belonging to Bentley, then charged at the same officer, who also shot at the dog with less-lethal ammunition, according to the affidavit.

As the two officers tried to pull Gehring to safety, the dogs circled them and prevented them from getting the woman medical help. The dogs were then tranquilized, according to the affidavit.

Once more officers arrived, they were able to rescue Gehring, who had severe injuries to her head and left arm. She was transported to St. Anthony's Hospital and immediately underwent surgery.

The young boy was also transported to the same hospital. He was then airlifted to Children's Hospital.

READ MORE: Golden dog attack sparks concerns about other attacks, measures taken to control dangerous animals

The day after the attack, police said Gehring was in critical condition and her grandson was stable. The dog that belonged to Mooney was euthanized due to injuries from the attack, police said.

Gehring's family later learned that her arm was severed and would need amputation. She also had "significant facial damage" and had one eye removed, the affidavit read. Doctors said it was unlikely she would regain sight in her other eye. Mooney's son's injuries included multiple lacerations, two broken fingers, and gouges on his arm and his heel, according to the affidavit.

Gehring died of her injuries on Sept. 17.

12-year-old boy, his grandmother attacked by family dogs

According to the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, her cause of death was listed as "cardiopulmonary arrest" due to "complications of extensive bite injuries" and "dog attack," according to the affidavit. Her manner of death was listed as "accident."

On Sept. 19, Golden police said the second involved dog, which belonged to Bentley, was euthanized after he surrendered it to the Foothills Animal Shelter.

During an interview with the injured boy, police learned that he believed Mooney's dog had saved him and Bentley's dog was the aggressor. In addition, the boy's sister, who stayed at the house, said as Bentley's dog attacked Gehring, Mooney's dog continued to go after the other dog.

The injured boy told police he "felt like the reason he was alive was because (Mooney's dog) had rescued him," according to the affidavit.


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