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October 19, 2004

Grandma's poodle mauled, pit bull nowhere to be found

From: Arizona Republic, AZ - Oct 19, 2004

Kevin Blocker
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 19, 2004 05:18 PM

A dog mauling has generated an outpouring of sympathy for a 74-year-old Chandler woman known in her neighborhood as "Grandma."

Hazel Yonts' 3-pound poodle was mauled to death late last week by a 6-year-old female pit bull in a neighborhood near Alma School and Elliot roads. Neighbors say the dog's owners have placed her in hiding, hampering animal control authorities in their search for the animal.

Now, neighbors are circulating a petition seeking the removal of two other pit bull puppies they have seen at the house.

Yonts bought "Cee Cee" for her husband, Harold, hoping she'd help lift his spirits as his health deteriorated.

Cee Cee instantly made him smile.

Though Harold only lived for another year after receiving Cee Cee, his doctor said the little poodle might have helped him lower his blood pressure before he died seven years ago due to multiple health problems, Yonts said.

In that time, however, she and Cee Cee grew close out of a common bond: They each loved Harold.

"To see my baby mauled in front of my eyes and bleed to death was awful," Yonts said.

Rashel Woessner, who owns the rental home at 1527 W. Marlboro Drive, has sided with the neighbors against her tenants.

"When they moved in we had them sign a contract which forbid them from having Rottweilers, pit bulls, chows and German shepherds," Woessner said.

"We want to get that dog put down, and we're going to serve notice that they need to have the two pit bull puppies removed within 24 hours after they've been notified," Woessner said.

A memorial with flowers, candles and teddy bears has been placed in the corner of Yonts' front yard where the attack occurred.

The pit bull's owner, Lamar Cervantes, said she and her dog do not live in the neighborhood. But Cervantes' son, Angel Cervantes, lives near Yonts and was watching the pit bull Thursday night when it attacked the poodle.

What potentially complicated the situation at the time, according to Lamar, is that Angel is deaf, his speech is impaired and he could not express himself to Yonts, his mother said.

"I think I will go over there tonight and apologize to her," Lamar said.

Woessner, the landlord, confirmed that Angel is deaf because she gave him permission to have his own hearing dog at the house.

Regardless, Yonts said she shouldn't have to wait nearly a week after the attack to receive an apology.

"I'm just heartbroken," she said.

The attack occurred in seconds.

"We went for a short walk, we didn't even get to the end of the driveway and I saw something run up," Yonts said. "I started kicking (the pit bull), but the dog grabbed her (Cee Cee) and dragged her in the yard."

Neighbor Martha Martinez said she witnessed the attack as she did yardwork.

"I heard him (Angel) scream at the dog, that's what caught my attention," Martinez said.

"After the attack, the guy just looked at her (Yonts) and walked off," Martinez said.

Yonts has filed a complaint in Chandler Municipal Court against Angel. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 10 a.m., Oct. 28.

"My neighbors have been great," Yonts said. "I've thanked the Lord for all my years and helping me through this. I know I have to get over it, but it hurts, I haven't hurt like this since Harold passed."

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