Two witnesses caught pit bull attack on Najera, wife, & firefighters on video
SAN ANTONIO, Texas––Posted Silvia Paola Hernandez, 36, to Facebook on February 24, 2023, with video clips of the fatal mauling of Ramon Najera, 81, and the frantic attempts of firefighters and a neighbor to save him:
“This just happened @ 2810 Depla off of Cupples in San Antonio Texas.”
The San Antonio attack was the first of two pit bull-inflicted fatalities occurring on February 24, 2023. The other, about which little information is currently available, other than that three pit kills killed a male victim, came a few hours later in Pensacola, Florida.
Fire axe blow failed to faze pit bull
Hernandez’s video showed two pit bulls relentlessly circling the fallen Najera, who lay face down on the ground.
Five firefighters holding fire axes and pipes tried to get the pit bulls away from Najera, only to come under attack themselves.
A solid thump to the head with the pointed end of a fire axe had no visible effect on the pit bull named Legend, as he lunged up at a firefighter who sought safety on the hood of a small red car.
The pit bulls ran in and out of their supposedly securely fenced yard at will.
Pro forma defense
Even amid the stress and chaos of the moment, Hernandez felt obliged to open with a pro forma defense of the pit bulls.
“I do not believe all dogs are aggressive,” Hernandez began. “I blame THE OWNERS who have done nothing but continue to breed and aggravate these dogs to make them what they are. These dogs are not the problem. IT’S THE OWNERS. There are multiple open cases and reports and no one did anything.
“The picture of the man in black and white [Najera] is an unnecessary TRAGEDY. He was an older gentlemen and neighbor to the owners of the dogs. This man was seen and known by these dogs. And yet he is mauled and covered in blood. In critical condition,” Hernandez said.
Saw two pit bulls attacking husband
Hernandez was yet unaware, she said later, that Najera had died, that his wife Juanita Najera, 74, was also in critical condition, and that both were friends visiting the neighbor to the owners of the three pit bulls, not actually residents of the neighbor’s house.
According to the arrest affidavit for pit bull owner Christian Alexander Moreno, 31, Ramon and Juanita Najera arrived next door to the pit bulls to visit their friend Angie Ramirez.
Finding that Ramirez was out, Juanita Najera “was returning to their vehicle when she saw two dogs attacking her husband,” according to the affidavit.
Rake & garden hose
“She tried to help him, but she was also injured in the attack,” summarized KSAT reporter Cody King. “A bystander,” believed to be Ramirez’s grandson, “also tried to help Najera and struck the dogs with a rake. That person was attacked by the animals and injured, the affidavit states.”
A bystander also futilely tried to distract the three pit bulls by squirting them with a garden hose, to no evident effect.
“Moreno returned home during the attack and secured the dogs inside his home. Animal Control services later took the dogs under their custody,” said Sarah Duran of KENS-5.
“Tried to speak with Moreno but was met by backlash”
KENS-5 obtained video of the fatal attack made by another witness, Belinda Rodriguez, from her car.
“It was terrifying. I felt helpless,” Rodriguez told Duran. “I just wanted to get out of the car and do something, but I just couldn’t, there was no way. I wasn’t carrying anything with me,” Rodriguez said.
“These dogs are always on the loose and we’ve made multiple reports about these dogs,” Rodriguez added to Duran.
Resumed Duran, “Rodriguez said she has tried to speak with Moreno about her concerns, but was met with backlash.”
Charged with two felonies
Moreno was charged with possession of a dangerous dog causing death and with causing injury to an elderly person. Both are felonies in Texas.
Moreno was jailed pending trial with bond reportedly set at more than $100,000.
His wife Abilene Schneider Moreno was on March 1, 2023 arrested on the same charges.
Updated Cody King of KSAT, “The San Antonio Police Department said they received several tips that claimed Schneider and Moreno were training the dogs to be ‘aggressive with meat.’”
All three pit bulls were euthanized within 24 hours by San Antonio Animal Care Services.
“We need to jail these owners and have a better system for these abused animals,” Hernandez opined, asserting that the owners “unfortunately used these animals as a weapon instead of giving them a loving home.”
Though Hernandez recited the trope that “It’s the owners, not the dogs,” her video demonstrated clearly that these three pit bulls attacked innocent people without provocation, could not be dissuaded from continuing to attack, redirected to others, and acted impervious to even an axe blow.
Not trained to stop dog attacks
The firefighters almost certainly would have been more successful in their attempt to rescue Najera if they had used their fire extinguishers and/or high-pressure hoses to back the three pit bulls away.
But San Antonio firefighters are neither trained nor prepared to respond to dog attacks.
“As they rounded the corner they could see a man being dragged by a dog. He was completely bloodied before they got out of the truck,” San Antonio fire chief Charles Hood told media at the scene.
“This is not normal for us”
“This is not something that is normal for us,” Hood explained. “We don’t normally have to defend patients from animals or ourselves. The firefighters in this instance were very heroic fighting off these pit bulls with pickaxes and pipes to try and get to the patients,” Hood offered, all true enough, but some basic training in emergency response to animal attacks would appear to be in order.
First responders reportedly gave Ramon Najera a blood transfusion before transporting him.
“Moreno’s dogs have attacked two other individuals in the neighborhood before on two separate occasions,” News4 San Antonio reported. “Animal Control Services has been called to report the dogs’ violent behavior multiple times in the past.
Impounded but returned
“At least two of the dogs in the deadly attack [on Najera] were involved in bite cases that resulted in moderate or mild injuries in September 2021 and this past January, authorities said,” News4 continued.
“The dogs completed the state-required quarantine before their owners reclaimed them, and the individuals involved declined to file [the affidavit required for] a dangerous dog designation.
“In November 2022, police also responded to a dog-related call at the property, during which an officer told the owner that the dogs must be kept in the yard. Neighbors have also called the animal shelter to report dogs at the property that were astray and neglected,” Animal Control Services director Shannon Sims recounted.
Harnesses, tethers, & collars?
“Most recently,” News4 mentioned, “Animal Control Services required Moreno to use a dog harness and tether in the yard and was also asked to sterilize both dogs, which he did.
“The warrant shares that Moreno provided a statement to police that had complied with all Animal Control Services requirements and guidelines.
“Moreno also stated that ‘The dogs were secured with harnesses, tethers, and collars for the past four days,” although the Hernandez and Rodriguez videos showed no indication that any of the three had been secured in any such manner.
Abilene Moreno boasted of pit bull litter
Christian Alexander Moreno’s wife, Abilene Schneider Moreno, told News4 that she had “been scared of the dogs since they were sterilized because they have been more aggressive,” and had been “attacking each other in the yard.”
Reported News4, “The affidavit says that she told her husband that she wanted him to return the dogs to Animal Control Services for ‘everyone’s safety.’”
If the Moreno pit bulls were sterilized, it was after birthing at least one litter that Abilene Schneider Moreno boasted on Facebook made her a “grandma.”
City was warned, many times
“I warned the City of San Antonio municipal government multiple times there would be a fatality,” ANIMALS 24-7 reader and San Antonio resident Kelly Reid Walls said on Facebook.
“It is estimated that over 88,000 animal-related calls were placed to 311 during fiscal ear 2022,” Walls charged. “A large number of those calls for stray, aggressive, and dangerous dogs were ignored by Animal Care Services.”
City council members Melissa Cabello Havrda and Jalen McKee-Rodriguez even drafted a proposed resolution, Walls continued, that “sought to reduce the number of pets euthanized due to ‘aggressive’ or ‘dangerous’ designations.”
“Direct fault of San Antonio leadership”
The resolution, Walls said, “shows how woefully uninformed those city council members are, regarding the reasons why dogs are legally declared aggressive or dangerous.
“This man’s horrific death is directly the fault of San Antonio leadership,” Walls concluded.
Walls has often been critical in the past of allegedly lackadaisical San Antonio Animal Care Service response to dangerous dog complaints.
2015 audit identified critical deficiencies
Walls is scarcely alone.
A San Antonio city Audit of Animal Care Services Dispatching & Operations released on March 13, 2015 identified critical deficiencies in animal control officer “compliance with guidelines related to aggressive and dangerous dogs, bites, and permits.”
San Antonio over the preceding 10 years had led all U.S. cities in human fatalities from dog attacks, all of them involving pit bulls; had consistently been among the cities with the most dog attacks on U.S. Postal Service letter carriers over the past five years; and led the U.S. in 2014 in fatal dog attacks on other dogs, according to data tabulated by ANIMALS 24-7.
While the San Antonio record has not improved, the records of many other cities are now markedly worse.
Placebo legislation will not stop attacks
Texas state house representative Liz Campos responded to the Najera fatality by filing HB 1653, a bill to increase the penalty for allowing a dog attack from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class B misdemeanor––a meaningless measure, since the bill would do nothing to prevent attacks from occurring in the first place, and since potential penalties for attacks have never had any discernible effect in deterring acquisition of pit bulls and other dangerous dogs.
“The reason I filed HB 1653,” Campos told Chelsea Torres and Everett Allen of News4, “is because I have some seniors in my district who had a problem with some dogs.”
Campos, said Torres and Allen, had “personal experience when she found her elderly neighbor face down on the ground after an attack from neighborhood dogs. Those dogs had previously attacked the elderly woman’s husband, but according to Campos, Animal Care Services did not have the first report.”
Said Campos, “Obviously it keeps happening in this neighborhood.”
“Justice for the family!”
Concluded Silvia Paola Hernandez, two days after Ramon Najares was killed, “As this story unfolds, these horrible people are threatening the people in our community. I say OURS, because those shit human beings moved into our community two years ago. And brought their horrible dogs and family. For two years they terrorized our neighborhood and caused the death of an innocent man.
“Now the wife wants to threaten my mother?
“That [expletive deleted] was celebrating becoming a dog mom in December 2022. That’s three months ago.
“So this bullshit news report about the wife asking her husband to give the dogs away is just that. They killed a man and now ‘fear’ for their own lives????
“I took down the videos out of respect for the family,” Hernandez said. “But it was GRUESOME. And Abilene Moreno has the nerve to act like the victim. She stood there with a puppy in hand and says they were ‘sterilized’??? How?
“No ma’am. Justice for the family!”