Two large pit bulls bit a landlord during a dispute with his tenants in Corralitos on Friday evening, an attack that caused both the dogs and the couple that owns them to get locked up, the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office reported.
The violence started around 6:30 p.m. when the landlord, a 53-year-old man, went to confront his renters about stealing water, according to sheriff's Sgt. Steve Carney.
The landlord has been trying to evict the couple, who live off Amesti Road at 19 Bowen Ave. with the woman's mother, and even turned off the water to their home, according to the sheriff's office.
Apparently, that's why they started tapping into the landlord's water supply.
"He's been having problems from them stealing water from his house, where they go get the garden hose, drag it over the fence and steal water," Carney said, explaining that the landlord has been trying to evict the couple. “It looks like it’s probably been an ongoing feud between them."
The landlord went to the rental unit to get the hose back, and Brian Wade Menges, 36, confronted the landlord over the water issue. Menges's girlfriend, Kendra June Jacobo, 29, went out with the couple's two pit bulls and allegedly sicced the dogs on the landlord, Carney said.
"One witness said the dogs bit him for about two minutes," Carney said.
When the landlord broke free of the dogs, Menges allegedly threw a metal chair at him, striking him in the back of the head, the sheriff's office reported.
The man suffered multiple dog bites to his arms and legs, as well as a head injury from the chair, according to emergency radio traffic. Medics treated him at the scene.
Menges and Jacobo fled but were arrested later that night at their home. Menges told deputies the landlord was teasing his dogs, according to Carney.
Both were booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Jacobo also was arrested for a probation violation; Carney said both have a history of drug arrests.
County Animal Services picked up the two pit bulls and took them to the animal shelter, according to the Sheriff's Office.
“We’re just holding them under quarantine and protective custody," said Melanie Sobel, general manager of the Animal Shelter. "At this point, it’s still under investigation."
The pit bulls, a male and female, both are about 2 years old and have a history of biting attacks.
Sobel said they bit someone in January and were temporarily confiscated by the . At that time, the dogs were spayed and neutered, but there weren’t any special rules placed on the dogs—such as wearing muzzles or having secure cages—according to Sobel.