The owners of three pit bulls that attacked a mother and son at a Newport hotel have not been identified, but the incident has sparked further debate about the breed.
The about 5:30 a.m. June 8 at the Marriott Newport Coast Villas. So far, the animals' owners have yet to be found, according to Kathy Lowe, spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department.
Witnesses told police the pit bulls were traveling in a pack, and Lowe said it was unclear what prompted the attack, which left the victims with non-life-threatening injuries. Police later found the pit bulls roaming around near Newport Coast Drive just north of East Coast Highway, decided they were dangerous and shot them to death.
"All three dogs began aggressively attacking the police vehicle," Lowe said.
Police said the decision to euthanize the pit bulls immediately was made because the officers feared for their own safety and that of the bicyclists, joggers and golfers who frequented the area.
Newport Beach dog trainer Vladislav Roytapel -- who said not all pit bulls are aggressive -- agreed the officers' response was warranted.
"I would like to see them armed with some type of bullets to put pets in a sleeping stage," Roytapel said. "But I guess under emergency situations it was necessary to shoot the dogs for their lives and the public's safety."
After the attack, readers voiced their . One reader, who identified herself as Kristi, said her daughter was attacked by a pit bull at a dog park.
"Once they grab hold, not even a crow bar can cut their release. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about, come over and see my daughter's mauled head, cheeks, ears, nose, neck and fingers," Kristi wrote. "It's in the genes, and not something you can simply 'breed out of them.' So pit lovers, don't turn your backs too far, around only to discover your pit will not only bite the hand that feeds them, but will take your face as well."
Kristi said she hates the breed and wishes all pit bulls could be exterminated, but community member Erack Shakur disagreed.
"These dogs' character is that of its owners. We make these animals this way and we should be held responsible," Shakir said. "This should not be a debate; it should be a wakeup call for people to educate the public on how to be responsible owners or pay the consequences."
Anyone with information about the pit bulls, which did not have tags or microchips, is asked to contact Newport Beach Animal Control at 949-622-2608.