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Dogs' owner gets 90 days in DVM mauling case

Article

Vista, Calif. - While an equine DVM mauled by dogs in late 2006 is left with lifelong scars, the dogs' owner received only a 90-day punishment.

VISTA, CALIF. — While an equine DVM mauled by dogs in late 2006 is left with lifelong scars, the dogs' owner received only a 90-day punishment.

Dr. Nancy Matthews

Nancy Matthews, DVM and mother of six, had taken two of her boys, then ages 8 and 11, for a walk near their Valley Center home. The outing almost turned deadly for Matthews when she put herself in the path of two Boxers who escaped from an open gate and began running after her boys (www.dvmnews.com, search for "A survivor's story," Jan. 2007).

The animals owned by neighbor Pedro Balerio Torres, 44, attacked Matthews for 15 minutes, dragging her into a ditch and inflicting more than 90 bite wounds. Torres eventually fought them off with a rake. Both dogs were euthanized after the attack.

No punishment can compensate for the continuing pain, flashbacks and scarring, Matthews told the Union-Tribune in San Diego. During sentencing, she tearfully told the court that she can no longer be an equine veterinarian because many horse farms have dogs and she is too afraid to be around them.

After pleading guilty to owning and maintaining a vicious dog, Torres was sentenced last month to 90 days in jail, four years' probation and was also ordered by Vista Superior Court Judge Michael Kirkman to pay Matthews' $123,000 in medical bills, according to published reports.

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