San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Probe Says Police Could Have Stopped Fatal Dog Attack

The deadly mauling of Natividad Canda, 25, by two Rottweilers on Nov. 10, 2005, in the eastern province of Cartago could have been avoided, a Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) investigation has concluded. Canda’s mother, Juana Francisca Mairena, has filed charges in the case, naming the owner of the auto repair shop where the incident occurred, the shop’s night watchman and the police who arrived on the scene, the daily Al Día reported.


Canda died as he arrived at the Max Peralta Hospital in Cartago from blood loss after being attacked by the Rottweilers for more than an hour as police, emergency officials and a news team looked on (TT, Nov. 18, 2005). The night watchman said that Canda had illegally entered the auto repair shop property when the incident occurred.


Emergency officials said they could not separate the animals from the victim and police said they did not shoot the dogs for fear of hitting Canda. However, OIJ investigations revealed that on two occasions during the attack, police could have shot the dogs but didn’t, according to La Nación.


According to the daily, the attack lasted for 54 minutes after 911 operators received a phone call alerting them of the situation, although some police officers said at the time that the entire attack lasted at least an hour and a half.


It is now in the hands of the Prosecutor’s Office to determine if police and others present, including Red Cross workers and firefighters, committed a crime by not shooting the dogs.


The Pubic Security Ministry is also conducting an internal investigation of the case.


Canda had lived in Costa Rica for nine years as an undocumented immigrant and had a criminal record here, according to the daily.


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