A 76-year-old woman who was maimed by two pit bulls in June, died on Christmas Eve from complications of her injuries.
Emako Mendoza was bitten at her home the morning of June 18 as she went outside to get a newspaper. Following the incident she suffered a heart attack, and her left arm and leg had to be amputated.
In the months that followed, Mendoza underwent eight surgeries. Less than three weeks ago, her right leg was also amputated because of infection within the bone.
After months of attempted rehabilitation, Mendoza’s heart stopped the day before Christmas.
Her husband of 54 years, James, said Mendoza had been through a terrible ordeal.
“You wouldn’t imagine something like that would happen in your own private backyard,” he said. “She thought she was safe.”
The owners of the dogs were arrested June 29. Alba Cornelio, 39, and Carla Cornelio, 19, were taken into custody by county animal control officers for charges that include a felony count for owning a mischievous animal that caused death or serious bodily injury.
Both women plead not guilty to the charges.
The two pit bulls, along with their three-week old puppies, were euthanized by animal service officers once Alba Cornelio gave her consent.
Prior to the attack, James said Mendoza always had a big smile on her face. But countless doctors’ visits and time in the hospital changed that as Mendoza became depressed.
“She was just so tired…she wanted to come home so bad,” he said. “But she didn’t make it.”