Monday, June 11, 2001

Police ask
if killer dog had
history of violence

If it did, it should have been kept at
a kennel, as county law requires

Staff and news service reports

HILO >> Police were investigating whether a pit bull that killed an 18-month-old boy and mauled the boy's mother had a history of violence.

Tyran Moniz-Hilderbrand was dead and Luana Moniz, 24, was found mauled when officers arrived at their home in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision in Puna Saturday night, Sgt. Mitch Kanehailua said.

The dog was being kept for a friend because the animal could not stay in the friend's apartment, Lt. James Kelly said.

If the dog had a history of violence, under county law it should have been kept in a kennel, he said.

Mother and son were outside the house when the dog slipped free of its collar and attacked, biting the toddler on the head and wounding his mother's arms and legs, Kelly said.

Moniz told police her son was walking down the driveway when the 80-pound male pit bull charged him. She said the dog turned on her when she tried to save her child.

The dog was still attacking Moniz when the boy's father, Sandy Hilderbrand, 28, returned home with the couple's 3-year-old daughter and another man, police said. The men killed the dog with a pickax before calling 911.

Kelly said he believes Moniz also would have been killed if Hilderbrand hadn't come home when he did.

Moniz initially was reported in serious condition at Hilo Medical Center. She remained hospitalized today in guarded condition.

Pit bulls were involved in 21 fatal attacks on humans in the United States between 1991 and 1998, according to a study released in September by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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