Victims question handling of pit bulls following attack

A Kyle family is searching for answers after three pit bulls reportedly broke into their backyard in late July and killed their family pet.

The family is now trying to understand why authorities allowed the pit bulls, later deemed by authorities to be dangerous, to avoid quarantine in an animal shelter after the attack, with the possibility they could remain in the owner’s possession. However, officials said it will be up to the judicial system to determine if the dangerous animals will remain on site.

The incident, which occurred around 7 p.m. July 29 in the 200 block of Covent in the Kensington Trails subdivision, occurred weeks before a separate Aug. 31 attack involving two pit bulls that broke into the backyard of a home and killed a smaller dog in the Steeplechase subdivision.

Eric Gordon, whose pet was killed July 29, said it happened three days after his family moved into their current home in Kensington Trails. Gordon said his son was in the backyard with CJ, their poodle terrier, when three pit bulls from a neighboring yard broke through the fence.

While Gordon’s son narrowly made it back inside the home, he was unable to grab their dog before the pit bulls began attacking it. Shonte Gordon, Eric’s wife, said the three dogs were “tearing my dog to pieces.”

“It was horrific,” Shonte Gordon said. “I got sick to my stomach.”

According to a Kyle Police report, the owner of the pit bulls, identified as Virginia Montoya, along with another person, attempted to intervene.

Juan Vazquez, who lives next door to the Gordon family, heard all of the barking and tried to assist, according to the report. Vazquez said in his statement to police that he saw Montoya and her son using fence boards to hit the dogs, while he used a broom to break up the fight.

Vazquez later added that he wanted the pit bulls removed from the neighborhood.

Eric Gordon said he eventually took CJ and rushed him to an Austin area emergency veterinary clinic, where the dog later died. Eric Gordon said he saw big kennels in the neighboring yard during an inspection prior to moving into the home, but they did not know their neighbors owned pit bulls.

According to the report, Montoya was bitten on her right arm, which she alleged came from CJ, as well as receiving another bite that could not be accounted for.

However, both Eric and Shonte questioned how authorities, as well as their homeowners association, have handled the situation.

Both Eric and Shonte Gordon allege Kyle Police have shown “favoritism” toward the owner of the pit bulls, whom they suspect was a former law enforcement official. They cite differences in the report that didn’t match their version of events. City officials said they were unaware the owners were former law enforcement.

Both Eric and Shonte Gordon also questioned why the dogs were allowed to stay at home and not at an animal shelter or other facility during a mandatory 10-day quarantine period following the incident.

Per Kyle code, an animal that bites a person must be given to the Animal Control Officer for quarantine for a 10-day period at the animal shelter. Per city code, only with the prior approval of the Local Rabies Control Authority can an animal be held in quarantine at any other location.

According to the report, the Local Rabies Control Authority authorized home quarantine for the three pit bulls. It is unknown at this time why the owner was able to have the dogs to be quarantined at her home.

On Aug. 5, Kyle Police issued a dangerous dog declaration to Montoya, who had 30 days to comply with restrictions to keep the dogs on the property. Restrictions include payment of an annual $50 fee that applies anywhere in Texas, as well as the purchase of a $250,000 insurance policy per animal, as well as requiring a muzzle to be placed on the animal when going outside of the home.

Only one of the three pit bulls remains on the property at this time, said Kim Hilsenbeck, Kyle communications manager. A judge could determine if the owners will be able to keep the remaining pit bull.

Hilsenbeck said authorities with knowledge of the event have been investigating it since it occurred. Public notice of the incident was only given to nearby property owners.

Meanwhile, Eric and Shonte Goron have reached out to neighbors to tell them about the pit bulls and that they have now been deemed dangerous.

Eric and Shonte Gordon have also reached out to Goodwin Management, Inc., the Homeowners Assocation (HOA) for Kensington Trails, to determine what actions it would take after the incident.

Goodwin officials told Eric and Shonte Gordon in an emailed response the incident is “police matter” and was noted in their account. One representative expressed sympathy to the residents whose pet was killed and encouraged them to “pursue the neighbors legally.”

The Hays Free Press reached out to a Goodwin Management representative for comment. Representatives did not provide an immediate response.

Eric Gordon said his family is considering another move if the pit bull is allowed to stay with the owners. They worry the lack of action is compromising safety in the neighborhood.

“Something is not right here,” Eric Gordon said. “We can’t be in a house where we don’t feel safe.”

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