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Orange County

Daughter's Rottweilers Badly Maul Visiting Mother

October 22, 2002|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A 78-year-old woman was in serious but stable condition Monday after being attacked by four Rottweilers at her daughter's Capistrano Beach home.

"It was pretty nasty," said Lt. Dave Wilson, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. "The good news is that she doesn't have any injuries to her neck or head. She does have some pretty substantial punctures and tears to her left thigh and both arms, though, and they were pretty serious wounds."

The woman, identified by neighbors as Janice Divel, was visiting her daughter and the daughter's roommate in the 34200 block of Camino El Molino about 9:30 a.m. when the attack occurred. According to Wilson, Divel, whose home is nearby, was sitting on a couch in the living room when the daughter went into another room, leaving Divel in view of her daughter's four dogs, which were in the backyard behind a screen door.

"For some reason they were agitated that she was there," Wilson said. "We don't know why."

The dogs were able to break or pop the screen door open and attack the woman, Wilson said. "She managed to defend herself pretty well," he said.

Divel's daughter, Clara Adair, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Kay Bogart, who lives across the street, said neighbors have complained about the dogs many times, and local animal control officials have been to the house on several occasions.

Divel was taken to San Clemente Hospital and Medical Center where she underwent several hours of surgery, Wilson said.

The dogs were taken to a local animal shelter, where they were being held pending the outcome of an investigation, into the case, police said.

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