Felony assault charges were filed Wednesday against the Glassell Park owner of a pit bull that attacked three people, including a 7-year-old child and an animal control officer investigating the child's injuries, the district attorney's office announced.
Edlyn Joy Hauser, 37, will be arraigned today, said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephen Kay.
After the arraignment, prosecutors will formally drop seven misdemeanor charges filed against Hauser last week. Hauser is expected to remain free on $5,000 bail posted after her arrest on the misdemeanor counts, Kay said.
Kay said prosecutors decided to file the stiffer, felony charges after reviewing the case.
"It looks like a felony," he said.
Hauser was charged Wednesday with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon--the pit bull, Benjamin. Two of the counts allege that the assault produced great bodily injury, an enhancement that could result in sterner punishment, Kay said. If Hauser is convicted, the maximum sentence would be 10 years in prison, he said.
The recent spate of attacks involving Benjamin began June 21, when Hauser's landlord, Warren Volpe, and his daughter, Brisa, were bitten by the dog. Fifty stitches were needed to close Brisa's wounds, Volpe said, and he suffered less extensive injuries.
The next morning, Los Angeles Animal Control Officer Florence Crowell went to Hauser's home to investigate the incident and was savagely bitten by Benjamin. That attack was filmed by a KCBS-TV television crew.
Crowell, who suffered a crushed bone in her hand and chest injuries, spent six days in Glendale Memorial Hospital before her release last weekend. Co-workers said it will be at least four to six weeks before she is physically able to return to work.
Regarded as Evidence
The pit bull, officially regarded as evidence in the Hauser case, remains caged in a Department of Animal Regulation shelter. Authorities have indicated that they will ultimately seek permission to destroy the dog.
Hauser, in a brief statement last week, proclaimed her innocence on the misdemeanor charges.
"I feel terrible that my dog bit people," she said. "But it wasn't my fault."
But the news film of the attack showed Hauser calling out a warning to Crowell:
"Benjamin is coming out," Hauser said. "So if you don't want to get bitten, you better get out of here."
Moments later, the pit bull charged Crowell.