Man charged after pit bull attack leaves 2 injured

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A 40-year-old man who allegedly failed to restrain his friend’s six pit bulls, which severely mauled two joggers in Valley Center, is facing four misdemeanor charges, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jose Ledesma was arraigned Tuesday on two counts each of failing to protect the public from dogs and failing to restrain a dog, according to the District Attorney’s Office. The next hearing in San Diego Superior Court is set for Sept. 24.

Richard Garritson, 21, and his 20-year-old brother, John, were attacked while running along a trail last Nov. 27. They fought off the canines but suffered severe bite wounds.

Prosecutors said the pit bulls belonged to someone else and Ledesma was caring for them at the time.

Dawn Danielson, director of the county Office of Animal Services, said 2,921 dog bites were reported in the fiscal year that ended June 30 — 399 attributed to pit bulls.

“The danger is not in the breed, it is in the owner or caretaker who fails to ensure that the dog is safely confined, socialized and supervised,” Danielson said.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said there has been a spate of such cases lately, one of which involved the death of an 8-month-old boy three months ago in a Lemon Grove apartment. She said the Ledesma case shows that owners are responsible for protecting the public from their dogs, especially canines that have a history of being aggressive.

Ledesma faces up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

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