NewsLocal News


Charges filed against owners of pit bulls that attacked boy, killed his great-grandmother in Golden

Suspect's son and grandmother were the victims in the attack, according to an affidavit
golden dog attack
Posted at 2:00 PM, Oct 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-24 17:56:50-04

GOLDEN, Colo. — The alleged owners of two pit bulls that injured a young boy and killed his 88-year-old great-grandmother in Golden will face charges in connection with the attack.

First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King announced on Monday that charges were filed against the alleged owners of two 7-year-old pit bulls that attacked and killed the woman and seriously injured a 12-year-old boy.

Kayla Mooney, 33, and Victor Bentley, 29 — who are in a relationship — face multiple counts of unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog. Mooney faces four counts and Bentley faces two counts. They will appear in court on Nov. 22 for advisement of these charges, according to the district attorney's office.

According to the affidavit, Mooney's son and grandmother were the victims in the attack.

The charges stem from Sept. 14, when the boy ran to a neighbor's house in Golden along the 15700 block of W. 1st Avenue. He was injured and bleeding, and told the neighbor his great-grandmother, 88-year-old Mary Elizabeth Gehring, was being attacked in the backyard, according to the Golden Police Department. Previously, police thought she was 89 years old, but police confirmed her age with Denver7 on Monday.

The boy had also been bitten, according to the suspects' arrest affidavits.

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

Police were dispatched to the home 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 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. Denver7 is omitting further details of her injuries. 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 attacks, 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.

Police spoke with family members following the attack, including Gehring's son, the injured boy's sister, and the two owners of the pit bulls, Mooney — the mother of the injured boy — and Bentley.

Gehring's son, who is 56, said he had never seen aggression from either dog and believed Mooney's dog would never hurt children, according to the affidavit. He said Mooney had owned the dog since it was a puppy.

When Mooney spoke with officers, she said her dog had always been gentle with kids and both dogs had been living in the same house for a couple weeks, according to the affidavit. She said they got along well with both each other and the children.

Bentley added that he had had his dog since it was 19 weeks old and while it didn't get along with his parent's dog, he had not had any other problems, according to the affidavit. He said his dog was gentle with Mooney's children and spent a significant amount of time with them. When asked if he had any questions for police, he asked if his dog had been put down, saying, "that it 'absolutely' needed to happen," according to the affidavit.

Gehring's family then learned that her arm was severed and would need amputation. She also had "significant facial damage" and had one eye removed. Doctors said it was unlikely she would regain sight in her other eye, according to the affidavit.

Mooney learned that her son's injuries included multiple lacerations, two broken fingers, and gouges on his arm and his heel, according to the affidavit.

During a search of the scene, police found pieces of flesh, bone and tattered clothing, according to the affidavit.

Gehring died of her injuries on Sept. 17. Police said they learned she died the following morning and incorrectly said in a press release they she had died Sept. 18.

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.

About 10 days after the attack, on Sept. 23, police spoke with the 12-year-old boy about what had happened prior to the attack. The boy, along with his young sister, explained that they had arrived home with Gehring to pick up books for church. The boy said he tried to put the dogs in another room so they wouldn't scratch Gehring if they got too excited, according to the affidavit. His sister said they normally did this.

After the boy raised his voice, he said Mooney's dog went to the door to the room and Bentley's dog went under a table. When the boy went to pet the one under the table, it bit him "just a tiny bit," according to the affidavit. When he went to get a paper towel for the cut, he said Bentley's dog bit his ankle and held on. On a scale of 1 to 10, the boy said the pain was a 10, according to the affidavit.

Gehring tried to pull on the dog's collar and it finally let go after the boy kicked its head. The dog then went for his left arm and the boy went outside to the porch and tried to close the screen door. Meanwhile, Mooney's dog seemed scared and was shaking. The boy's sister called 911, according to the affidavit.

Bentley's dog bit on the boy's hand and Mooney's dog, which had not been previously involved, licked the blood and then attacked Bentley's dog, according to the affidavit. The boy tried to comfort both dogs and told Gehring to go inside. She refused and told him to run, according to the affidavit. He obeyed, fleeing to a neighbor's home.

He told police that in the aftermath, he was upset that people thought he was attacked by both dogs, since he "felt like the reason he was alive was because (Mooney's dog) had rescued him," according to the affidavit.

His sister, who stayed at the house, said as Bentley's dog attacked Gehring, Mooney's dog continued to go after the other dog.

Based on the findings from the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories, there was no evidence that the dogs injured or fought each other, according to the affidavit.

The City of Golden does not have bans on certain types of dog breeds, but residents must have their dogs licensed and vaccinated.

This case remains under investigation.