Pit Bull That Killed Darla Napora Got Loose from Backyard While Officer Kept Watch

Categories: Animals
pitbull.jpg
New details of the pit bull mauling emerge.
Gunner got loose before he was shot to death. ​Police defend their response.

Gunner, the pit bull who allegedly mauled a pregnant woman to death Thursday, escaped from the backyard while an officer was posted to keep an eye on it, Pacifica Police Captain Dave Bertini told SF Weekly.

When police responded to the house on a suburban street in Pacifica, Napora's husband, Greg, told officers that the dog was in a back room. Bertini says the officers discovered that the room's sliding door was open, and the dog had gone into the backyard. Bertini, who was on the scene, says he posted an officer at the back fence to ensure the dog didn't get out while animal care officers were on their way. 

But 10 to 15 minutes after the police first responded, "the gate came open. Whether it was the wind or the dog hit the latch, it came out from the backyard in the driveway and toward the front yard," Bertini says.

Inside, officers were attending to an unresponsive Napora in the front room. 

The officer notified "Dog loose!" Two officers shot Gunner dead with one bullet from a shotgun and two bullets from a handgun. The Peninsula Humane Society's senior vice president, Scott Delucchi, said the dog's necropsy was "getting under way" Friday afternoon. Veterinarians will take X-rays and recover the bullets, as well as check for medical abnormalities. The dog's brain will be sent to the county health department for rabies testing. 

Delucchi stresses that the medical examiner has not determined a cause of death for Napora. He says the family had two pit bulls; when the police arrived they saw Gunner, the unfixed male, hovering over her body. Tazi, the family's female, was cowering in the corner. Gunner was already dead by the time the Humane Society responders arrived. They took both animals away in separate compartments in the same vehicle.

Tazi is being kept at the Humane Society and looks uninjured, Delucchi says.

Bertini defended the shooting. The dog "was covered in blood. There was no way we were going to take chances of it getting loose into the neighborhood or attacking anyone." 

The police had never before gotten a report of Gunner acting aggressively, and Napora's husband didn't indicate the family had had had trouble before. Nor do the police suspect it had been used in dog fights, Bertini says.

"It looked like a family pet to me," he says. "There were pictures of the dog in the house. It had a dog bed in the house. It looked like a normal family pet."

Bertini says the officers had no particular procedure on how to handle a dog mauling, which he says he hasn't seen in his 25 years on the force.

"The response by the Pacifica Police Department was the utmost professional it could be," he says. "We don't need a specific procedure for this kind of call. There's no procedure at issue here."

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27 comments
123tl78
123tl78

It is absolutely sad what happened and I am sure these people had the best intentions but it is certainly a reminder for all of us to be more knowledgeable dog owners and understand how a dog acts and the warning signs of aggression and what it means to have an intact male dog in your home, etc.  Having any dog is a risk but these animals depend on us to be kind to them and to know what the hell we are doing.  

123tl78
123tl78

Why would you let an intact male dog sleep in your bed when it is coming into adulthood.  There are going to be dominance issues with any intact male dog when they become adults.  Why did they not get the dog neutered a long time ago before the testosterone kicks in?  I know none of this was the dog's fault that is for sure.

Katieannanton
Katieannanton

I am saddened beyond belief at this story and sickened at peoples response. This woman and her husband believed in the breed, were advocates for pitties. We may never know exactly what happened but the fact that her husband has suffered a great loss and wants his female returned tells us that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks, he loved his family.

Ella
Ella

Someone mentioned the Pit Bulls of the 1920's being gentler. The Pit Bull of the The Little Rascals era were actually bred as “dog-nannies” to children. The breed has since been crossbred and the Pit Bull of today has a different temperament and genetic code. However, the temperament of any dog breed depends on a variety of factors such as, socialization, quality of care, obedience training, mistraining, spaying/neutering, etc. In my opinion, the media hype on Pit Bull attacks is biased and irresponsible. How often do you hear about the attacks of German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Malamlutes, Huskies, and yes even Labradors? They happen, you just don’t hear about it. 

A September 2000 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that while breed is one factor that contributes to a dog’s temperament, it alone cannot be used to predict whether a dog may pose a danger to his or her community. Two decades ago, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers attracted little to no public concern. At that time it was the Doberman Pinscher who was being vilified. In 2001, few people had heard of the Presa Canario breed, involved in the tragic, fatal attack on Diane Whipple in California. Now that breed is being sought by individuals who desire the new “killer dog.” Unfortunately, the “problem dog” at any given time is often the most popular breed among individuals who tend to be irresponsible, if not abusive, in the control and keeping of their pets. If you ban one breed, individuals will just move on to another one. Banning a breed only speeds up the timetable.

Mel
Mel

I would be triple checking to ensure the husband didn't have more to do with this!

Michele0361
Michele0361

Now that the truth has come out and the dog Gunner did not kill his owner!!So all you idiots who were saying the breed should be banned, terminated.The cops killed the dog and all he was doing was loving his owner trying to wake her up my nudging her.I think the media, cops need to make a piblic apology.  You dumb A$$es who don't even know the breed but listen to all the crap the media say's about this breed but you never hear the whole story.Pits are good loving dogs I have 2 of them both fixed we have had them for 8 and 9 yrs never had a problem with them.Stop being so ignorant go to a shelter and volunteer and see for yourself  that pits are very sweet loving strong dogs!My heart goes out to Mr. Napora.

Shamhna
Shamhna

How is it that Ms. Napora was discovered "splattered with blood" if the dog just "nudged" her? Reports say there was massive trauma to her upper body.

Regardless... if you let dogs sleep in bed with you, they very well may take over the role of "pack leader" and behavior problems will arise.

Ella
Ella

Michele - What have you heard about the story? I didn't know they found the dog to be innocent. 

Nvoris
Nvoris

You people don't stop to consider her friends and family sit up and read this shit. She happened to be a friend of mine and her husband has been a dear friend of mine for years. They are two of the nicest most genuine people I know. So for any of you to pass judgement on shit you know nothing about, to you I say, God forbid anything like this happen to someone you love. May you never have to experience the pain her loved ones are feeling.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

What is really creepy and proves my theory that pit owners tend to be abusers and thugs, was that he wanted the live dog back .. . .had a dog killed anyone I loved, that dog, or dogs, would not live long enough for the police to arrive. 

maxiemom
maxiemom

That proves that you aren't very bright.  It a white man murdered one of your family members, would you avoid all white men in the future? 

Good luck with that!

Dogs are individuals, just like people.  The female was COWERING in the corner- that should tell even you something.  

Also,, no one knows what happened here- this may not have been a dog attack, but a dog coming to the aid of an owner who had some trouble.  She was pregnant- anything could have happened, and these dogs are very protective.

I wonder if your opinion, and the opinions of many other closed minded individuals, will change if that proves to be the case.  I also wonder if you will actually admit you were wrong.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

So keep insisting that it's all the owner's fault, but 'splain why it is there are so many bad pit owners.  Maybe we should spay, neuter, and euthenize the 2 leggers.

Danaceb
Danaceb

Whatever helps a pit bull owning trailer trash queen like you sleep at night.

maxiemom
maxiemom

And just for the record, I hardly live in a trailor..  I live in a very nice neighborhood with doctors, lawyers, retirees, business owners- mostly professional  people.  Sorry to burst your ignorant bubble. 

Just for the record, I'm also the descendant of a Signer of the Constitution.  Hardly trailer trash... I'm pretty sure that would be you..

maxiemom
maxiemom

WOW!  I don't own a pitbull, and I sleep fine.  I have friends who do, including my next door neighbor, whose dog is MY dog's best friend.  She's sweet, loving, gentle, and is one of the best loved dogs in a neighborhood full of dogs of ALL types.  She's only 1 of 3 pits out of about 30 other dogs, yet EVERYONE loves her.

What helps a bigoted, ignorant racist like you sleep at all?

And just for the record, I hardly live in a trailor.. I live in a very nice neighborhood with doctors, lawyers, retirees, business owners- mostly professional people. Sorry to burst your ignorant bubble.

Just for the record, I'm also the descendant of a Signer of the Constitution. Hardly trailer trash... I'm pretty sure that would be you..

Hughesp
Hughesp

This information conflicts with other reports that the husband dragged the dog away and placed it in the yard.Why would the gate be unlatched?I think there is much more to this story. How did a pit bull get to be 125lbs? That is more than twice the size of the breed.

candice
candice

how can a pitbull get to be that big if it was a one steroids and steroids can make a dog snap. but thats just my view there is just to many things in this story it just keeps changing all the time. I would love to see some of the pictures of the dog. Was he a pitbull or was he something else?

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

There is no "pit bull breed" and size and shape varies considerably.

candice
candice

no but every time they say pitbull the american pitbull terrier gets the blame and it is a breed and it is not 125 pounds if is its on steroids. They need to start calling the pitbull type dogs by there breeds and not just the word pitbull.. this is why they claim pitbull attacks are so high anything with a short coat and a big head is a pitbull..

Clubsprint
Clubsprint

All right,American Staffordshire Terrier, American  Bulldog, American Pitbull Terrier, Yorkie, how  many other names do you want for the same thing? It's like Germen Sheppard sand Alsations, they are the same thing.

DQ
DQ

Candice, you're onto something.

"Pit bull" commonly refers to one of three breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier (rarely tops 85lbs, anything that size or larger indicates it is cross-bred with a larger dog), the American Staffordshire Terrier (rarely tops 65 lbs), and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (rarely exceeds 40 lbs). The reports of 125 were completely unbelievable to me, indicating (more likely) a mastiff. I emailed one of the reporters with the San Jose Mercury News and she, in turn, contacted Scott Deluchi at the PHS. He indicated that the dog's vet records showed weight fluctuations of 68-76 lbs, and his post-necropsy weight was 72 lbs. I contacted the Chronicle asking that a correction be printed (they'd stated 125lbs, the Merc did not) and was told:

"This one found its way to me. We’llconfirm the weight, but I don’t think we’ll run a correction if infact the dog was 72 pounds. We run corrections to fix significant errors, whichthis doesn’t seem to be. The reason for the policy is to avoid packingthe pages with revisions of minor or trivial facts. If we’d gotten the breedwrong, or someone’s name or the cause of death or the circumstances ofthe case, something along those lines, that would merit a correction. Humbly, Idon’t think the dog’s weight is in the same category. Its relevanceto the story is pretty questionable, given all we don’t know about thecase, and probably didn’t deserve to be included in the first place."

Shamhna
Shamhna

Jeez - the dog is as big as a presa canario, unless the reported weight is inaccurate. I can't believe this couple, who tried to promote a positive image of pitbulls, would give their dogs steroids.

Cindy Marabito
Cindy Marabito

Please share necropsy report and autopsy as soon as revealed. I would go on to suggest a second necropsy report be done if Peninsula Humane Society is involved....not a safe haven for pit bulls and other animals. 

Shannon
Shannon

Oh my God. Give me a break. You value animals over people. It's sickening. A woman and her UNBORN BABY were killed. Get some perspective. That pit bull's home was obviously not a safe haven for its owners!

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Why do you think all the "experts" at the shelters all shriek how pit bulls have a 'BAD REUPUTATION?"  because of the liability they should have for adopting out dogs that simply are too dangerous to keep as pets.  So they blame the victim, insist that she must have "provoked" the dogs . . dogs dont' form intent.  They act on instincts and training, and let us not forget ANY DOG CAN BITE it's just you can't stop a pit once he gets going.  At least this was the owner and not some innocent neighbor. 

Shamhna
Shamhna

I wonder what the heck happened since the era of the Little Rascals, when pitbulls were considered great companions for kids. Either the dogs were less dangerous back then because they were trained and bred properly, or people just accepted dog attacks as part of life, like car accidents.

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