Dog belonging to Gabby Giffords’ relative kills sea lion in Laguna

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A dog that belongs to a relative of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords attacked and killed a sea lion along the Laguna Beach shoreline, police said Monday.

A video of the violent encounter shows Giffords’ stepdaughter and husband trying to pull the canine from the limp mammal as the surf rolls in. A copy of the video was sent to The Times.

Laguna Beach police received a call at 2 p.m. Saturday and arrived to find that the 65-pound American bulldog mix had broken free from its 18-year-old owner and attacked a beached sea lion on a public beach near the exclusive Montage Laguna Beach, Capt. Jason Kravetz said in an email.


The video taken by a local resident shows Giffords’ stepdaughter struggling to free the sea lion. Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, appears later in the video, running down and pulling the dog off the sea lion, both police and a senior advisor to Giffords confirmed.

Kelly and Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, are vacationing in Laguna Beach.

Kelly brought the dog back to the house where the family is staying and crated it in the basement before meeting with police, said Jen Bluestein, senior advisor for Americans for Responsible Solutions, a political action committee started by Giffords and Kelly, in an email.

Giffords was not at the scene of the incident and has no connection to the dog, she added.

The dog lives with the stepdaughter in Houston; Giffords and Kelly live in Tucson.

Police did not cite the owner “because it was legal for her to have the dog on the beach this time of year, and she did have it leashed. It was so strong that it pulled free of her when it saw the (sea lion),” Kravetz said.

It’s illegal for an owner to encourage a dog to attack marine life. “That wasn’t the case in this situation,” Kravetz said.

The sea lion later died.


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Twitter: @agomezberman