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Woman, 77, killed in dog attack on her front porch in Phoenix

Published: Jul. 11, 2021 at 1:33 AM CDT
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PHOENIX (KNXV) - A 77-year-old Phoenix woman is dead after being attacked by dogs on her front porch. Her family has been hit hard by the loss, and the dogs’ owner is facing charges of negligent homicide.

Each photo of 77-year-old Eliza Sebastian Ruiz, also known as Maria, brings back memories for her daughter, Refugia Alonso, memories she will not take for granted now that Ruiz has been killed in a dog attack. She says “they took the one they love the most and can never get her back.”

Police found Ruiz just after 7a.m. Tuesday morning lying on the ground surrounded by four Staffordshire terrier-mix dogs. She was taken to the hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Police say 77-year-old Eliza Sebastian Ruiz was killed in an attack by four Staffordshire...
Police say 77-year-old Eliza Sebastian Ruiz was killed in an attack by four Staffordshire terrier-mix dogs on her front porch in Phoenix.(Source: KNXV via CNN)

The dogs’ owner, 33-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, is now charged with negligent homicide.

Police say Maricopa County Animal Care and Control had been in contact with Hernandez in the past for dogs escaping. He was told to fix a gate to keep his dogs secure but did not do so, telling police he “did not have time.” Hernandez also admitted to prior incidents of the dogs biting other people.

Blake Mayes, an attorney with MayesTelles PLLC, says Arizona’s dog bite law is a “strict liability” law.

The dogs’ owner, 33-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, is charged with negligent homicide. Police...
The dogs’ owner, 33-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, is charged with negligent homicide. Police say he told them the dogs had escaped multiple times in the past and that they had gone after and bitten other neighbors.(Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, KNXV via CNN)

“If you own a dog that bites somebody else without provocation, provocation as a defense, then you are strictly liable, meaning they don’t have to prove anything. They don’t have to prove that you did something wrong. They don’t have to prove that you were negligent. You’re simply liable,” Mayes said.

Offenders are liable for medical bills along with pain and suffering.

Alonso says her family will never be able to see Ruiz again, while Hernandez’s family can still visit him in jail. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money for Ruiz’s funeral.

Copyright 2021 KNXV via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.