PINETOP-LAKESIDE — The attack by three pit bulls on a small, 8-pound Lhasa Opso dog in Woodland Park on Sept. 19 has been documented by the town’s police department and animal control in several reports which the Pintop-Lakeside Police Department has promptly provided to the Independent through a public records request.

The incident happened along the walking trail in the park at approximately 2:25 p.m. that Sunday when Candy and Marco Masone walked their small dog Snickers past a group of visitors who had three large pit bill dogs with them. All three pit bulls set upon the little dog causing massive injuries to it including a pelvis fractured in six places, severe lacerations requiring staples and a hip ball that had to be sawn off and wrapped with ligaments.

The incident started when four adults and three children were visiting the park — they were staying in an Air BnB Cabin in the area. The group included 32-year-old Arturo Armas and his wife Alana Armas 33, their three kids, Arturo’s mother Maria Armas and Alana’s mother, Jodi Jackson, 61. Jodi Jackson owns two pit bulls, Delilah and Cypress; the married couple Arturo and Alana own one pit bull named Canela. During the course of the investigation, Animal Control Officer (ACO) Chelsea Haas had contacted both Maricopa County and Marana Animal Control for follow up; that suggests that the Armas family and Jackson are probably from there.

Jodi Jackson has since been issued a non-criminal citation for having a dog at large in violation of the town’s code.

Everybody gave written statements except the children (aged three, six and 10) and grandma Maria Armas. The statements conflict at some points but are generally consistent except reports about Candy’s walking stick.

As the Masones and Snickers were walking the trail, the four dogs “alerted” to each other. It seems one of Jackson’s dogs, Delilah, got off its leash or slipped out of its collar (there’s some dispute about that) ran towards Snickers and attacked. The other dogs somehow got loose and joined in. Meantime, Candy allegedly began hitting the attacking dogs with a “heavy walking stick,” to stop the attack, which Candy admitted to doing. According to a witness statement, Candy also waved the stick at some of the adults threatening to “(Explicative) kill you.” Candy denied that. The pit bulls were eventually restrained and the Armas group called paramedics because the Masones had no phone reception.

Candy Masone described the medical responders as compassionate and caring — ACO Hass identified them as being from “Pinetop Fire.” The paramedics treated the Masones for dog bite wounds to their hands, and a “hematoma” to Candy’s shin, moved the Masone’s car closer to the patients and helped find an emergency vet for Snickers.

The responding officer showed up at 2:43 p.m. and first came upon Arturo Armas walking all three now-leashed dogs according to his report.

PLPD Officer J. Crow said that the dogs “did not display any aggression towards me;” that they were each different colors; one dark grey, another light grey and the third tan in color. Arturo told Crow that of the three, the “dark grey dog was the most aggressive, but was usually fine,” and that the incident involved “mostly the dark grey and tan dog.” He said the dark gray dog “managed to slip off her leash.” That was probably Delilah, the dog described by Candy as the first to attack and which Candy said slipped out of its collar when Candy tried to stop it from chewing on Snickers. As stated, Delilah is owned by Jackson.

On the question of a rabies threat and quarantine, ACO Hass’ reports indicated that she played it by the book. All three pit bulls had been vaccinated; that means the town’s code allows them to go through a 10-day quarantine period at their home, which Hass reported that they did, from Sept.19 to 29.

In contrast, Candy Masone doesn’t believe proper procedure was followed because the animals were released right away to their owners, she said, before Hass even had Crow’s report about the relatively minor injuries to the humans involved. In that report, Officer Crow observed that, “I do not believe the dog(s) to be rabid due to the following facts:” they were not aggressive towards persons and they didn’t appear to be “hydrophobic.” Further, Candy claimed that Hass’ report is inaccurate about when Candy sent the information to Hass that the ACO had requested from her, like vaccination records for Snickers and medical records.

It seems that there was a mix up once all four dogs returned to their homes. Candy told the Independent that Pima County Animal Control showed up at her home on the following Thursday and “were under the impression” that it was the wounded Snickers who went on the attack. She said that when those officials saw Snickers’ mauled condition, they lifted 10-day quarantine on Snickers right away.

Finally, there appears to be an unresolved issue at work here. Candy said in her statement that she asked the paramedics who treated her whether such vicious attacks in the area were common. She claimed that they said, ”This was a rare case.” However, a local resident named Joanne Feller wrote to the Independent in an email that, “I was attacked by an unrestrained dog on a public road two years ago. I am still recovering from concussion syndrome as an outpatient at Barrow Head Injury Center in Phoenix. I required additional surgeries to my arm and leg, and am unable to work as a registered nurse even though board certified in emergency and critical care….Not all dog attacks make the front page, but in 40+ career years, I’ve seen plenty.”

Court records show that Jodi Jackson has been summoned to appear in the Pinetop Lakeside Municipal Court to answer the dog at large citation. According to Hass, Jackson has agreed “to obtain formal animal behavioral modification training and canine good citizenship...which is scheduled to begin on October 30, 2021,” for her two dogs. The Armases told Officer Crow that they did not wish to pursue possible charges against Candy Masone for the alleged threat with the walking stick.

Reach the reporter at rlynch@wmicentral.com

(8) comments

White Mountain Resident

Don;t want to pursue charges for the attack with the walking stick? You have to be kidding me.

2Hikers

The revelation of how the incident was handled on 9/19 is a complete disgrace and as bad as first suspected. In view of the lack of protection for the public and our own leashed pets, or any reasonable disciplinary actions from the agencies toward the owner of the pit bulls involved, I would carry bear spray on the paths of Woodland Lake Park. The park is too beautiful and enjoyable to hand over to dangerous bullies, be they people or their animals.

GraceAZ

Carry a 45. Never know when you run into a real bear or 3 pit bulls.

che guevara

The affront of this case is appalling , the attempts at mitigating culpability are unconscionable . This is indeed proof positive that you are truly on your own .

IHaveAnOpinion

Wow..The owners of the attacking dogs told Officer Crow that they did not wish to pursue possible charges against Candy Masone for the alleged threat with the walking stick. If she did threaten someone with the stick, good for her and too bad she didn't follow through. She's trying to SAVE herself and her dog from 3 attacking larger dogs and someone actually thought charges should be pressed on HER?

smartguy

This story still makes no sense. In most jurisdictions, if you loose control of your dog and the dogs cause ANY injuries to other animals or person, YOU ARE AT FAULT. If a person uses any force to protect themselves or their pet from an attack, your are within your fights. What is all this talk about giving a ticket for using a walking stick? This still makes no sense. and I would caution anyone walking a dog in this area in the future to have a body camera so the police don;t have to GUESS on whats happening!!!

Horse Rider

Three large dogs (breed doesn't matter), not under proper control of their owners, observed a much smaller dog and attacked it causing massive injuries. That's the core of the matter. Everything else falls between trivial and completely irrelevant. That the attacking dogs were not adequately restrained makes the entire incident the fault of their owners. This includes injuries to the victim dog's owners as they tried to protect their pet.

Tim

When someone is guilty of something (e.g. attacking pit bull owner), the first thing they do is deny and/or point fingers at others or in this case the victim. They should be held accountable for more than a leash law violation. My two cents.

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