BARSTOW The owners of two dogs that mauled a Barstow woman in December were arrested Wednesday afternoon on felony charges related to the near-fatal attack.

Ronald Ferrell, 55, and April Hearn, 38, were arrested on suspicion of owning a mischievous animal causing serious bodily injury after police executed a search warrant on their home at 1707 Riverside Drive and confirmed they owned two dogs that mauled a 52-year-old woman in December.

The victim was walking down Riverside Drive on Dec. 29 when a Rottweiler and a Rottweiler-pit bull mix lunged on her and seriously wounded her legs, arms, and chest.

Nearby resident Laura Hamilton saw the attack while checking her mail and came to the aid of the victim, scaring the dogs off and rescuing the victim with a pickup truck. The victim would have died if the woman had not come to her aid, according to police.

Police shot the two dogs after they lunged at officers responding to the attack. One dog died and the other ran off into the desert.

Barstow Police Sgt. Andy Espinoza said police have received "more than two" complaints in the past six months about dogs at large near Ferrell and Hearn's home. When police searched the house a restrained adult Rottweiler was found and taken by the Barstow Humane Society. Espinoza said both dogs responsible for the attack were licensed.

The victim of the attack is still undergoing treatment for her injuries.

Espinoza said loose dogs have been running in the street in Barstow since as far back as he can remember, but recently dogs seem more vicious.

"I'm more careful, especially with my grandkids now," said Espinoza. "If I see dogs loose I'm going to move to the other side of the street. It seems to be in fashion now to walk with a Rottweiler or pit bull on a heavy chain whether it's for protection or recreation I don't know."

On Tuesday City Council members passed a vicious dog ordinance designed to enhance punishment and set guidelines for owners of dogs deemed dangerous or vicious. The ordinance also allows the city to post pictures and addresses of the dogs on the Internet.

Ferrell and Daniels were booked into the Barstow Jail and transported to the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, where they remain in lieu of $50,000 bail each.


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