Rampaging bulldog attacks homeowner, housekeepers, vet tech

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A 100-pound American bulldog attacked two women on a residential street in east Sonoma last Friday, sending one of them to the trauma care unit at Napa’s Queen of the Valley Hospital.

At around noon on Aug. 16, Alexandra Ilyin, the owner of a house in the 500 block of Fourth Street East, was in another part of the house when she heard a commotion and went to investigate, according to a report from the Sonoma Police Department. She found that the couple who do housekeeping at her house had ran away when they entered and were chased by the bulldog, known as Falkor, which had recently moved into the house with its owner, K.C. Hopkins, and Ilyin’s daughter.

Ilyin told police that she usually locks the dog in a bedroom when people visit, but had neglected to do so because she hadn’t been expecting the housekeepers.

When she saw the dog attacking the housekeepers in her front yard, she ran out to place herself between the dog and the housekeepers – one of whom suffered minor injuries – but the dog then turned on her.

A neighbor witnessed the incident and called Sonoma Police; by the time they arrived Ilyin had secured the dog inside the house, but in doing so she suffered substantial injuries to her arms, stomach and chest. Both arms were bandaged and she was transported to the Queen of the Valley trauma center for treatment, where she received multiple stitches.

The woman housekeeper also suffered injuries, described by police as “abrasions” and not requiring hospital treatment.

Ilyin provided police with the contact information for Hopkins, who was telephoned and came immediately to the house. Hopkins told police that since they had moved to Sonoma the dog had become harder to control and more aggressive.

When he was informed by the Community Services Officer that he had to impound the dog for 10 days or supply proof of vaccination within three days, his response was to take the dog to Sonoma Veterinary Clinic to be euthanized, accompanied by the CSO.

At the clinic, veterinarian Howard Rosner said he wouldn’t let the dog in until it was muzzled. When Hopkins attempted to apply a muzzle to the dog, it turned on the vet tech and Hopkins.

In the clinic’s parking lot, the dog was given a quick intramuscular shot that anaesthetized him, then carried inside for a final shot of phenobarbital, which stopped his heart.

“The dog was pretty aggressive even with the owner,” said Rosner. He described it as an unneutered male of about 4 years old. “He was a solid, muscular dog.”

American bulldogs are sometimes called pitbulls, along with a number of other similar breeds.

Rosner said he was sad to hear what had happened to the women the dog attacked, and said it was his understanding American bulldogs were bred to be fighting dogs.

Rosner said that putting down animals was “not my favorite thing to do, but I don’t like knowing a dog like that is out and about.”

UPDATE: The Sonoma Veterinary Clinic later confirmed that the dog was up-to-date on his vaccinations. Sonoma Animal Control took possession of the dog after euthanasia. Following that, Falcor's body was returned for cremation and the ashes were held for the owner.

Contact Christian at christian.kallen@sonomanews.com.

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