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89-year-old woman attacked by family's dogs in Golden dies Sunday morning

Golden police say two dogs who attacked grandmother, young boy were 'loved members of this family'
Posted at 8:00 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 17:23:35-04

GOLDEN, Colo.  — UPDATE: The 89-year-old woman who was attacked by the family dogs Wednesday afternoon died from her injuries Sunday morning, according to Golden police. Read our original story below:


The grandmother is in critical condition, and her 12-year-old grandson stable after they were attacked by the family dogs Wednesday afternoon in the backyard of a Golden home.

In a press conference Thursday, Sgt. Ben Salentine with the Golden Police Department said the two pit bulls are "loved members of this family. They're pets just like the majority of us have."

The attack happened around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 1500 block of West 1st Avenue.

"Officers immediately responded to the scene, very chaotic scene, followed a blood trail into the home, observed through a backyard window two larger animals over an elderly female that was in the backyard," Salentine said.

Salentine said the first two officers on scene acted heroically, acting as human shields as they put themselves between the woman and the two dogs. Several minutes later, additional officers arrived and helped them contain the animals.

"The dogs were taken to a local area veterinarian clinic where they were triaged," Salentine said. They were treated, cared for. One ultimately had to be euthanized, while the other animal is currently at the Foothills Animal Shelter."

During the attack, the 12-year-old boy managed to escape and ran across the street to a neighbor's home, who treated him until first responders arrived. Neighbors in the area, like Wayne Hughes, are still in disbelief.

"It brings up the question of how they raise their dogs because pit bulls... don't normally just take off on somebody like that," Hughes said.

Golden PD says investigators are interviewing family members to learn more about what led to the attack.

In Denver County, Denver Animal Protection figures show out of the 634 dog bites reported in 2020, 65 of them were from a pit bull, 55 were German Shepherds, and 66 were Labrador retriever. The stats provided by the city do not account for the popularity of breeds in Denver.

In 2021, Denver lifted a ban on pit bulls. That year, 116 pit bull bites were reported, accounting for nearly one in seven of the total dog bites. German Shepherds made up 68 of the bites, and Labrador retrievers accounted for 54 of the bites.

So far in 2022, Denver Animal Protection reports 103 pit bull bites, which accounts for nearly a quarter of all dog bites reported this year. German Shepherds account for 37 bites, while Labrador retrievers account for 35 bites.

In a statement to Denver7, Denver spokesperson Tammy Vigil said in most dog bite cases, victims report the breed as a pit bull, but this is often not accurate.

Most bites in Denver come from un-permitted dogs that have not had a breed evaluation and whose victims report the breed as a pit bull which is often not accurate. We regularly have people bring their dog in to get a breed evaluation and learn their dog is not a pit bull.

One last point, all dogs can bite. There is such a variety of circumstances that lead to a dog bite that our Denver Animal Protection (DAP) officers address every situation on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the animal’s breed. Much more important to any given situation than a dog’s breed is the animal’s history, the specific situation that led to the bite (ex: was the dog sleeping and it was startled), the responsiveness of the owners, and the likelihood or risk of future events occurring.

Three pit bull breeds were included in the Denver Animal Protection stats, which include American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and Staffordshire bull terrier. The stats also included incidents involving unknown pit bull breeds.