Woman barely survives dog attack in SLO

October 15, 2015

mean_dogA Grover Beach woman narrowly survived a recent dog attack that has left her with surgically repaired arms and inner thighs and no feeling in some sections of her limbs. [KSBY]

Gina MacPherson, a housekeeper, was cleaning a client’s home in San Luis Obispo when the family’s two-year-old American bulldog-mastiff mix managed to enter the house and jump on her. The attack occurred on Sept. 28. at a home on Isabella Way.

MacPherson had worked for the client for eight months. She is now suing the owner of the dog.

MacPherson said she was vacuuming the dining room when the dog attacked her. The dog was named Sugar.

The dog grabbed her shirt and started ripping it off, MacPherson said. The dog then ripped her shorts and knocked her down.

MacPherson’s attorney, James Murphy, said the dog would chomp and then swallow as if it was eating her. The attack lasted for 15 minutes, Murphy said.

MacPherson likely would have died had a courageous neighbor not come to the rescue, Murphy said.

San Luis Obispo Police Lt. Jeff Smith said the neighbor who stepped in is a woman who is familiar with the dog. The woman went over with a shovel and began hitting the dog, Smith said.

The woman also suffered injuries.

Shortly after the woman intervened, police and San Luis Obispo County Animal Services personnel arrived and succeeded in getting the dog to release MacPherson.

MacPherson said she did not think she was going to survive the attack. Her elbow was ripped off during the attack, and she could see her entire bone, MacPherson said.

Now, when she tries to go to sleep, all she sees is the dog’s eyes and face, MacPherson said.

Murphy said he filed suit against the owner Wednesday afternoon in order to take care of MacPherson’s medical costs.

Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson said investigators have not yet determined who is at fault for the attack. Anderson said the dog was confined within its yard and house, and it is a little open ended as to whether or not the owner has direct responsibility.

There were some past contacts with the dog, including a bite, Anderson said.

Animal Services is expected to complete its criminal investigation next week.

The owner has put down the dog.



  1. obispan says:

    People who own dangerous breeds generally “get off on it” and are as bad as the dogs themselves. A dangerous combination.

    (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
  2. smiley says:

    Any dog is capable of attacking if provided or it feels threatened. I love dogs but am wary of all, especially the bigger breeds and those with reputations( pit bull) etc. I can’t believe how some people let their children approach animals they don’t know and put their faces close to the dogs mouth.

    (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
  3. tictac1 says:

    You people need to take off that dunce cap. As someone who has taught bite prevention to meter readers, I can assure you, there is no such thing as a “bad breed”. Serious attacks happen from all sorts of breeds and mutts. Biased thinking like that breeds fear, or lack of vigilance around “safe” breeds.

    There is also no such thing as a “Pitt Bull”. Dog teeth are not “needle sharp”, either, unless we’re talking about puppies.

    American Bulldogs have been around as a pure breed for several decades, they generally do not act like APBTs (American Pit Bull Terriers, the only real “pitt” bulls). Mastiffs are older than that. Both are generally defensive in their own home, and are physically capable of hurting people. This is true for about 27 popular breeds, by the way.

    Had the woman had the training that is provided to meter readers, she probably would not have been so seriously injured.

    The owners knew their dog was aggressive, they always do. Dogs do not just “snap”, they are very predicable once you understand canine drives and body language. Unfortunately, the average dog owner knows nothing about either, and worse, they do not care to. They would rather think of little Fido as a 4-legged child. Pathetic.

    (-2) 36 Total Votes - 17 up - 19 down
    • OldNed says:

      Whether “snap” is the right word is just semantics. And whether owners know or should know what a dog can do doesn’t mean that people wandering around in public places or even private homes have the same knowledge. Certain dogs are capable of inflicting lethal injuries on healthy adults. Most are not. What is the relevance what this woman’s injuries may have been if she’d undergone bite training? Are you suggesting that everyone, even non dog owners, should undergo dog bite training? After that do we move on to rattlesnake attack training, spider bite training, and shark attack training? How many classes are we supposed to attend to minimize all the risks in life, no matter how unrelated to our daily lives?

      (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
    • shelworth says:

      Finally a post from a rational person. Thank you.

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
      • shelworth says:

        I’m talking about tictac1’s post by the way.

        (-6) 6 Total Votes - 0 up - 6 down
  4. OldNed says:

    Another argument that’s just worn out is the old: “There are no bad dogs – just bad owners.” While I agree that owners need to take responsibility for their dogs, different breeds present different levels of danger. If a “bad owner” of a Maltese fails to control her dog in a public place, my kid may end up with a puncture wound at worst. If a bad owner of a Pit Bull or a Mastiff fails to control her dog in the same situation, my kid may end up dead. The old argument that certain breeds don’t present a greater danger when they snap just needs to die.

    (28) 32 Total Votes - 30 up - 2 down
  5. Rawhide says:

    Pherson’s attorney, James Murphy, said the dog would chomp and then swallow as if it was eating her.

    “chomped and swallowed as if eating her…”
    It seems that the dog might not have been fed or eaten anything for a few days…

    (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
  6. KimNorth says:

    Who owns this dog? It took two weeks to report on it and Mr. Eric Anderson seems to be insinuating it’s the victims fault as she may have left a door ajar letting the dog in?

    I hope the owner is not someone of influence as it seems damage control is being done on the owners behalf.

    (30) 30 Total Votes - 30 up - 0 down
  7. Keith says:

    Is that the photo of the dog? Or just a generic demon? If the owner knew a cleaner was coming that day, then the owner is 100% guilty. No ifs ands or buts. I would say the noise of the vacuum set the dog off. But that’s besides the point.

    (20) 20 Total Votes - 20 up - 0 down
  8. Rambunctious says:

    Mastiff Mix… may as well have a loaded gun with a hair trigger walking around your home. I was bit by one once and their teeth are needle sharp. Bad Breed… I do not care what anyone says.

    (21) 47 Total Votes - 34 up - 13 down
    • mary margaret says:

      “American Bulldog-Mastiff mix” according to the article. American Bulldog is just another name for Pitt Bull (so is Staffordshire Terrier and maybe some others). Certain breeds need to be humanely bred out of existence.

      (20) 46 Total Votes - 33 up - 13 down

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