ST. GEORGE — Four people have been arrested in connection with a dog attack in Santa Clara that sent four individuals to the hospital on Thanksgiving night.
Officers responded to a family fight involving three women and two men at a residence on Crestview Drive at approximately 8 p.m. Nov. 23, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department in support of the arrest. Six children were also present in the home at the time.
The argument and subsequent physical altercation triggered a female pitbull to begin attacking and biting individuals in the home, including a 38-year-old man, a 31-year-old woman and two children, ages 13 and 3, the report states.
The pitbull had been caring for a new litter of puppies in a metal dog crate inside the home when she became agitated, broke out of the crate and began the attack, resulting in the four individuals being transported by ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George to be treated for their injuries.
Two additional family members rode along in the ambulances but were not injured, Santa Clara-Ivins Police Public Information Officer Randy Hancey said Friday, clarifying earlier statements that six injured were transported.
Animal control officers removed an adult male pitbull, the female pitbull and her litter of pups from the home, Hancey said, adding that he did not know if the male pitbull was involved in the attack. He said the pitbulls would be quarantined for a period of time as a matter of standard protocol.
Management personnel at the Ivins Animal Shelter declined both comment and access to the dogs, referring St. George News to the Police Department.
An investigation into the incident resulted in the arrest of Juan Ismael Navarro Sr., 38, Linda Marie Montez, 43, Griselda Campos, 20, and the dog’s owner, Isaac Arthur Geno Lopez, 23.
A 31-year-old woman involved in the fight has not been named in this report as she has not been arrested or charged as this report publishes. The 31-year-old woman and Navarro had previously lived at the Crestview Drive residence with Lopez, Montez and Campos, who currently live in the home.
They had allegedly all been consuming large amounts of alcohol before the 31-year-old woman got into a fight with Montez and Campos, the arresting officer wrote in the sworn statement, but the statement did not specify what the dispute was about.
When officers first arrived on scene, they saw Montez and the 31-year-old woman in the living room of the residence punching each other with closed fists, the report states.
At some point, prior to officers arriving on scene, Lopez got involved in the fight, punched Navarro in the face and threatened Navarro’s life by stating he “was going to kill him,” according to the statement.
“I also found Isaac to admit to not remembering much of the incident due to heavy alcohol consumption,” the officer wrote, adding that Montez and Lopez also said all six children were present during the altercation.
“While at the residence, officers detected the smell of marijuana,” the report states. “During questioning, (Lopez) admitted the marijuana to be his and gave officers custody of the marijuana in a silver thermos.”
On Wednesday, once officers had a chance to conduct interviews with everyone involved, Lopez, Navarro, Campos and Montez were arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an Information in 5th District Court accusing Lopez of three class A misdemeanor counts of drug possession, threat of violence and assault, along with six additional class A misdemeanor counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and class C misdemeanor intoxication.
Lopez has since been released from custody on $16,790 bail pending trial. His arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 1 before Judge G. Michael Westfall.
According to court documents, since 2013, Lopez has been arrested in Utah on a variety of charges including disorderly conduct, criminal mischief for intentionally destroying property, drug-related charges and domestic violence in the presence of a child.
The county attorney’s office has charged Navarro with class A misdemeanor assault, six class A misdemeanor counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, and class C misdemeanor intoxication.
Navarro was also found to have three active warrants for his arrest issued by the Washington County 5th District Court relating to driving without a valid driver’s license.
Campos has been charged with class B misdemeanor assault and six class B misdemeanor counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child.
Campos appeared in Santa Clara Justice Court before Judge Ken Armstrong Thursday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to the charges. A pretrial conference for her case is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2018.
While booking information shows Montez was arrested on eight class B misdemeanor counts for interfering with arrest, negligent child abuse and domestic violence in the presence of a child, court records do not indicate charges had officially been filed as this report is published.
In a preliminary interview with Linda Montez she told St. George News she will defend the charges against her as her involvement was breaking up a fight between other people in her own home.
Montez also said that the two dogs, Shadow and Nala, have no previous incidents of aggression.
This is a developing story.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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