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.


I am so SICK AND TIRED of pet owners thinking that we, the public, are going to want to be around their dog.

NO Dogs are NOT like children.

You can lock them outside for days and let them bark and bark and feed them in a bowl on the ground. They are not human.

My heart goes out to this victim.

Please stop the growing trend of shopping with your dog! IT IS RUDE!

I have a dog and do not pretend to think that 100% of the public will want to be with my dog.


I love it when you walk down their street and their dog is out in the yard with them and they can see you coming but they let their dog run after you anyway, just to see how close it will get, and how viciously it will defend them. And then they say something stupid to the dog like “Pooky,it’s just a person walking, it’s just a person walking.”


I was in a IN and Out Burger a while ago and three women walked in with their dogs. One of them was not on a leash. When the manager asked them to remove their dogs the women went nuts. They called 911 to report that they were asked to leave the restaurant. LOL


First off, if you do not want to dine or shop with dogs – stay away from Carmel, CA

In Santa Barbara, I witnessed a small dog get into a fight in the ladies shoe department at the Nordstrom El Paseo and then proceed to piddle on the carpet – no leash.

When will the management of these retail establishments tell the customers to leave their pets at home?

I notice Miners Ace Hardware has a sign stating that their insurance carrier will no longer allow pets in the store – THANK YOU!


The expanding ability of dog owners to take their dogs everywhere they go is troubling to me. I like dogs but I don’t like being on an outdoor patio trying to enjoy lunch or a beer when two dogs start fighting. And some people are absolutely nuts about their perceived “right” to take dogs where they have no business being. I’ve seen people start arguments with security at events because they were prevented from bringing their dogs into enclosed spaces with lots of people, including kids. And, yeah, I saw a dog in someone’s shopping cart at the grocery store last night. And don’t get me started on abuse of the “service dog” laws.


I’m with you Old Ned.

In fact, my sister has raised dogs for Guide Dogs for years and they too are fed up with the “service dog” lie.

Go to any festival now and by God you would think it was a pet festival – really hard on small children!


They’re not like children except that everyone seems to think their qualified to have one, or two, or three.


“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.”

Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson should ask a lawyer about the legal term “strict liability” and how it pertains to pets. When a person owns an animal that is known to be dangerous (has bitten others) and it injures someone – the owner is at fault and liable. End of story.


This is exactly why many homeowner insurance policies exclude certain dog breeds.My heart goes out to this housekeeper. Francesca Bolognini you are right on the mark!


Past contacts and dog bit someone before? Known problem and now this? Sorry guilty. Next.


“investigators have not yet determined who is at fault for the attack”

I don’t think it was the victim.

But when lawyers and insurance companies are involved…you never know.


Aren’t you obligated to provide safe working conditions for your staff? If a Circus Circus tiger got out and chomped a waitress, they would be liable for damages. I understand why some people would want such a dog, but it’s their responsibility to make sure it is restrained when it needs to be.

Francesca Bolognini

People should NEVER own an animal they cannot control. A properly trained guard dog would not behave in this manner. A properly trained dog only attacks on command or in the event that the person it is protecting is attacked. This idea that having a dangerous animal on one’s premesis makes one “safer” is obviously very wrong and leads to tragedy after tragedy.

They may have put the animal down, but they will never be able to repair the damage. People who suffer these types of trauma are subject to PTSD, usually for life. They are likely to fear all dogs. In this case, the victim will be substantially crippled. It is doubtful that any reparations that the owners could make would be equivalent to what this woman will be dealing with for the rest of her life.

So often I see people being dragged down the street by an animal that is entirely inappropriate for them. If you cannot be the ALPHA and maintain that position at all times, you have no business owning that animal. Having an animal in your posession that is out of control in any way is a hazzard. Having one capable of the scene described above is, in my opinion, criminal.

I have owned animals most of my life. I was training Great Danes when I was an undersized nine year old. I had control of those dogs and they would never have behaved in such an agressive manner. Such irresponsibility is like putting a loaded weapon in the hands of a homicidal individual. Criminal.


PS…is that photo from the “ADAM” archives?


I would venture to say that the owners of the dog are at fault, not only for the viscous attack, but for the unfortunate putting down of the dog. All to often, these breeds are blamed for their seemingly uncontrollable violent behavior, when in fact they are the product of their owners.

I hope the woman recovers and sues the owners.


The article said she has filed suit by way of her atty, Murphy.