Dog attacks, kills sea lion in Laguna Beach

A dog belonging to a relative of Gabrielle Giffords attacks a sea lion near Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.

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

The violent attack, which shows Giffords’ stepdaughter and husband trying to remove the canine from the limp sea mammal as the surf rolls in, can be seen on a YouTube video sent to The Times. (Editor’s note: The video features graphic images and curse words.)

Laguna Beach police received a call at 2 p.m. 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 below the Montage Laguna Beach, a luxury hotel, Capt. Jason Kravetz said in an email.

The video taken by a local resident shows Giffords’ daughter 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 with family in Laguna Beach.

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

Giffords was not present at the scene at Goff Island Beach 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 knowingly sick a dog on marine life.

“That wasn’t the case in this situation,” Kravetz said.

The sea lion died from its injuries and has been removed from Aliso Creek, where it had beached itself and was possibly ill.

Twitter: @agomezberman