Residents in the Antelope Valley town of Littlerock say a fatal mauling by a pack of pit bulls earlier this month wasn't the first time homeowners there have encountered the aggressive animals.
Kimberly Eslick, 29, lives with her family near the intersection of Ave. R-8 and E. 113th St. She said they moved into the house about three years ago and said they see stray dogs all the time. Pit bulls used to sleep on their front porch and now there are dogs everywhere, she said.
"There's stray dogs running all over, all the time," said her mother-in-law, Carolyn Eslick, 54.
Kimberly Eslick said her cat was killed by one of the dogs. Once, Carolyn Eslick said, she and her husband were walking in the frontyard with their Chihuahua puppies when "one of the stray dogs came up to attack him. My husband had to throw rocks at them" to chase the dogs away.
On the morning of May 9, a pack of pit bulls viciously attacked Pamela Devitt as she enjoyed her morning walk through the neighborhood. An autopsy revealed she had between 150 and 200 puncture wounds. The dogs’ owner, Alex Donald Jackson, 29, has been charged with murder and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday. He’s being held in lieu of $1,050,000 bail.
When they heard that a woman in the neighborhood had been attacked, Kimberly Eslick said, "It doesn't surprise me at all."
She was at the store when her dad called and said, "Where are you? You didn't [take a] walk, did you?"
When she was told what had happened, she said her first thought was "Oh my God, I let those girls walk," referencing her kindergarten-age daughter who walks home from school with the little girls across the street. She also has a 2-year-old son.
Her daughter is not allowed out front by herself anymore, Eslick said, not even to get the mail or play with neighbor girls. They bring their cats and dogs in at night.
The dog problem is scary and frustrating, they said, and there doesn't seem to be much they can do about it. Animal control officers came out once and chased some dogs around, but the women aren't sure what came of it.
Kimberly Eslick's husband complained to the Sheriff's Department once about the stray dogs, and he said the response was, "Why don't you just shoot them?"
That's the approach Jane Hammer, 60, and her husband take.
Hammer, 60, said she carries a handgun with a hot-pink handle.
She keeps it on a lanyard around her neck every time she leaves her house.
"I just carry one around, just in case something happens," Hammer said. "It's just the idea of having the protection if you need it."
The Hammers said they have lived in the area for 25 years and often encounter "wild bands of dogs." She said the gun is for protection against those dogs, as well as rattlesnakes and anything else they might need it for.
"If that woman would have been carrying a gun, it wouldn't have happened," Rally Hammer said.
The Hammers said they often saw Devitt walking with a stick, but they noticed that she had stopped carrying it. When Rally Hammer asked her what happened to it, she told him, "Nothing ever happens."
"I told her to get rid of the stick and carry a golf club. It had more swing to it," he said.