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from The Sacramento Bee Online


Valiant effort couldn't save dog victim

By Ryan McCarthy -- Bee Staff Writer - (Published December 13, 2002)

Emergency crews from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District worked for 20 minutes Wednesday in an unsuccessful attempt to save a 2-week-old Kings Beach girl mauled by a family dog.

"We did as much as we possibly could," said Capt. Steve Simons of the fire district.

The girl's mother, Kimberlee Dawn Crago, said she left her daughter in a bassinet about noon and that when she returned from the bathroom, she found the mauled girl next to one of the family's dogs.

An autopsy on Jordan Mykalee Comellas found several broken bones and numerous internal injuries.

A man answering the door at the couple's home in the 8700 block of Rainbow Avenue would not comment.

Neighbors of the four-unit complex where Crago and John Comellas lived said the couple had a half-dozen dogs.

Dave Kroker, 36, a business owner in Kings Beach who lives nearby, said the dogs were chained but occasionally got loose.

"I don't know how they survived with all those dogs," he said of the couple living in the small unit.

He added that the couple's dogs were "never aggressive toward us."

Another neighbor told a different story.

Sarah Soto, 12, who lives across the street, said her 11-year-old brother was bitten Sunday by one of the couple's dogs, but that his injuries were not severe.

Officials said a husky mix, weighing between 85 and 100 pounds, was involved in the baby's death. The dog is in isolation at a North Auburn shelter.

Capt. Rick Armstrong of the Placer County Sheriff's Department said an investigation into the death is continuing, and results will be turned over to the District Attorney's Office to determine if any charges of neglect or endangerment should be filed.

A truck, which neighbors said belonged to the couple, had a hand-drawn sign in the rear window with "Warning Dogs" in red and pictures of two canines with large, protruding teeth.

A law enforcement officer took a picture of the vehicle and its warning notice Thursday.

Armstrong said it's possible that the dog might have mistaken the baby for a toy.

He added that a mauling death is rare in the county.

"I've been in law enforcement for 36 years," he said. "This is the first one I'm familiar with."

John Sorrels, supervisor of county animal control services at its Auburn office, said the owner apparently has requested that the dog be euthanized.

Copyright © The Sacramento Bee

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