Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pregnant Pacifica woman killed by family pit bull

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle

A pregnant Pacifica woman was found dead by her husband today after an apparent attack by a family pit bull, police said.
The 32-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, was killed in her home on the 500 block of Reina del Mar, said Capt. Dave Bertini, a Pacifica police spokesman.
The woman's husband told police that he had arrived home from work around noon and found one of the couple's two pit bulls standing over his wife's body. He was able to get the dog into the backyard before police arrived a few moments later.
Attempts to revive the woman were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
While the investigation was under way, Bertini said, the dog, a 2-year-old male, got loose from the yard and charged at officers who were stationed outside. They fired three shots at the pit bull, killing it.
The family's second pit bull was not believed to have been involved in the attack, but was removed as a precaution by the Peninsula Humane Society, which provides animal control services for San Mateo County.

Update August 11, 2011 - The following article is by Joshua Melvin, Mercury News:

Woman fatally mauled by her own pit bull in Pacifica

A 32-year-old woman was mauled to death Thursday afternoon by her pit bull in her home.
Pacifica police officers shot and killed the dog after it approached emergency responders, who had found the woman lying on the floor of the front room of her home. The dog was a 2-year-old male that had not been neutered.
Police received a 911 call around 12:15 p.m. of a possible dog attack in the 500 block of Reina Del Mar Ave. Upon arriving at the scene, officers attempted CPR on the woman, who was later pronounced dead in her home.
The victim's husband told police he arrived home from work and discovered that his wife had been attacked. He told officers the dog had been secured in the backyard before the mauling.

Update August 11, 2011 - The following article is by Mathew Luschek, NBC Bay Area:

Pacifica Woman Killed by Pit Bull

A pregnant Pacifica woman was found dead today by her husband - an apparent victim of a pit bull attack, reports the Chronicle.
The body of Darla Napora, 32, was found at her home on the 500 block of Reina del Mar, said Pacifica police Captain Dave Bertini. 
The victim's husband found her around noon, with one of the family's pit bulls standing over her body. He was able to get the dog into the backyard before police arrived, but the animal escaped, charging the officers later.
Police fired three shots killing the dog. The family's second pit bull, which was not believed to be involved in the incident, was removed and taken to the Peninsula Humane Society as a precaution.

Update August 12, 2011 - The following article is from KGO:

Pregnant Calif. woman killed by own pit bull

A pregnant Pacifica woman was mauled to death by her pit bull Thursday. Her husband made the grisly discovery of their pit bull standing over his wife's body.

Darla Napora, 32, was killed inside their home on Reina Del Mar Avenue.
Pacifica police arrived at the home after getting a 911 call from the victim's husband.
"When they arrived, they found the victim laying in her own front living room; she was not breathing, unresponsive and had major trauma to her upper body," Pacifica Police Capt. Dave Bertini said. "The husband stated that when he got home, at about noon, he found his wife with their pit bull hovering over her."
Darla and Greg Napora owned two pit bulls, a spayed 6-year-old and an unneutered 2-year-old. The unneutered pit bull is believed to be responsible for mauling and killing Darla.
Police ultimately shot and killed the dog after it escaped from the backyard as officers were conducting their investigation.
"The last thing we wanted to happen was for the dog to get out and start attacking bystanders or be loose in the neighborhood," Bertini said. "So as soon as the dog got out of the backyard, the decision was immediately made to put that dog down and that's why the dog was shot three times by two officers on scene."
Police say Darla was pregnant, although they do not know how far along she was.
Neighbors are saddened. They say the dogs appeared nice and normal and never noticed anything unusual about the dogs.
A necropsy is scheduled for Friday.
"Eventually we're going to find out if there's anything physically or medically wrong with the dog that may have caused this attack," Bertini said. "We have already done an extensive interview with the husband and there are follow up questions that we may ask in the future."
Police do not believe the other pit bull had anything to do with the attack but as a precaution it is being held at the Peninsula Humane Society.

Update August 12, 2011 - The following article is from Orlando Sentinel:

Pregnant Woman Mauled to Death by Family Pit Bull

A pregnant woman was killed by one of her pit bulls, her mauled body found by her husband, police said on Friday.

The victim, 32-year-old Darla Norpa, was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon at the couple's home in the seaside village of Pacifica, south of San Francisco, Pacifica Police Capt. Dave Bertini said.

Bertini said the woman's, Greg, husband told police he came home from work at around noon on Thursday to find one of the couple's pit bulls standing, bloodied, over his wife's mauled body.

First responders to the scene found the woman unresponsive in a front room of the home with massive trauma to her upper body, Bertini said.

A second pit bull was found cowering in the corner.

Bertini said the man told authorities that the attacking dog, a two-year-old male named Gunner, was confined in a back room.

But when the dog managed to escape and enter the front yard, officers shot it three times, Bertini said.

Both pets were taken to Peninsula Humane Society, which performs animal control services for San Mateo County under contract.

The society's spokesperson Scott Delucchi said a necropsy scheduled for Friday would seek to retrieve the bullets as well as examine stomach contents and tissue samples to establish whether the dog was correctly implicated in the attack.

Tissue samples will be taken from the second dog to determine if it could be returned to the victim's husband.

"This person has lost everything; this dog is all he has left," Delucchi said.

"Right now we are assuming that one dog was involved and one was not. We investigate hundreds of dog attacks every year but I've never seen anything like this in 13 years," Delucchi said.

Update August 12, 2011 - The following article is by Lauren Smiley, SF Weekly:

Pit Bull That Killed Darla Napora Got Loose From Backyard While Officer Kept Watch

Gunner got loose before he was shot to death. ​Police defend their response.

Gunner, the pit bull who mauled a pregnant woman to death Thursday, escaped from the backyard while an officer was posted to keep an eye on it, Pacifica Police Captain Dave Bertini told SF Weekly.

When police responded to the house on a suburban street in Pacifica, Darla Napora's husband, Greg, told officers that the dog was in a backroom of the house. The officers discovered that the backroom had a sliding door that was open, Bertini says, and the dog had gone into the backyard. Bertini, who was on the scene, says he posted an officer at the back fence to ensure the dog didn't get out while animal care officers were on their way. 

But 10 to 15 minutes after the police first responded, "the gate came open, whether it was the wind or the dog hit the latch, it came out from the backyard in the driveway and toward the front yard," Bertini says.

The dog came around the house, up the driveway, and toward the front door, where officers were inside attending to an unresponsive Napora in the house's front room. 

The officer notified "Dog loose!" and two officers shot Gunner dead with one bullet from a shotgun and two bullets from a handgun. The Peninsula Humane Society said Gunner's necropsy was "getting under way" Friday afternoon, says Scott Delucchi, the senior vice president. The veterinarians will take an x-ray and recover the bullets, as well as check for medical abnormalities. The dog's brain will be sent to the county health department for rabies testing. 

Delucchi stressed that the medical examiner still has not determined a cause of death for Napora. Deluchi says the family had two pit bulls, and when the police arrived they saw Gunner, the male pit, who was not fixed, hovering over the woman's body, and Tazi, the female pit, cowering in the corner. Gunner was already dead by the time the Humane Society responders got to the scene. The responders drove both animals away in separate compartments in the same vehicle.

Tazi is being kept at the Humane Society and looks to be uninjured, Delucchi says.

Captain Bertini defended the shooting. "[The dog] was covered in blood. There was no way we were going to take chances of it getting loose into the neighborhood or attacking anyone." 

The police had never before gotten a report of Gunner acting aggressively, and Napora's husband didn't indicate they'd ever had trouble with it before. Nor do the police suspect it had been used in dog fights, Bertini says.

"It looked like a family pet to me," he says. "There were pictures of the dog in the house. It had a dog bed in the house. It looked like a normal family pet."

Bertini says the officers didn't have any particular procedure on how to respond to a dog mauling, which he says officers haven't responded to in his 25 years on the force. But he indicated that there was no need to create any such policy.

"The response by the Pacifica Police Department was the utmost professional it could be. We don't need a specific procedure for this kind of call. There's no procedure at issue here."

Update August 13, 2011 - The following article is by Joshua Melvin and Lisa Fernandez, from Oroville Mercury Register:

Pit bull mauling of pregnant Pacifica woman remains a mystery

What happened in the moments before the fatal mauling of a pregnant Pacifica woman in the front room of her little white house on Reina Del Mar Avenue may never be known -- she is gone and the only witness is the pit bull terrier Gunner that killed her and her unborn child.
But the investigation into how Darla Napora, 32, died continued on Friday with her autopsy and a necropsy of Gunner, which was shot to death by police when it charged them after killing her, officials said. Investigators hope to have results in a few weeks that will pencil in the gaps of the tragic death, which was first discovered by the woman's husband of two years, Greg Napora.
Pacifica Police Capt. Dave Bertini said there are lots of theories, but they will remain speculation until detectives get exam results. However, investigators said they have no reason to believe foul play was involved in the death.
Some people noted that it was questionable that Greg Napora had not been hurt while wrestling away the dog he found standing over his mortally wounded wife on Thursday around noon. In fact, Bertini said, the husband and father-to-be suffered injuries to his hands while dragging the pit bull into another room.
He added that he is 99.9 percent sure Greg Napora wasn't involved. "But you never know, so that is why we're waiting for the reports to make sure we didn't miss anything," Bertini said.
Animal care officers also planned to interview to Napora on Friday, said Scott Delucchi, spokesman for the Peninsula Humane Society.

"We don't know what triggered this," Delucchi said. "Nobody knows."
The humane society is now taking care of Tazi, the couple's other pit bull -- a spayed 6-year-old female.
"She was pretty stressed out yesterday," Delucchi said. "And she was tucked away at the shelter. We've told staff not to go over and gawk at her."
Authorities will not only perform a necropsy on Gunner, but also check out Tazi, to see if there are any wounds on her, Delucchi said, posing aloud a possibility that the two dogs may have had a fight. But Delucchi said it was also possible that Gunner was provoked by something getting in the way of food or a toy he wanted.
In the meantime, the excruciating loss had begun to sink in for family and friends of the couple.
Chris Templin, general manager for the high-end 231 Ellsworth Restaurant in San Mateo, got a call just before 5 p.m. Thursday, where Darla Napora worked almost every night of the week as a popular bartender.
It was Greg Napora.
"He was very upset," Templin said. "And he said Darla wouldn't be coming in to work."
Templin has known Darla Napora for six years, when she was bartending at Ristorante Capellini nearby, and before she came to work for him two years ago.
"She was caring and thoughtful," Templin said, "and made everyone feel at home."
Darla Napora had a talent for making drinks by simply asking customers what they were in the mood for and coming up with her own concoctions, Templin said: "She always came to work with a smile on her face. I can't say enough good things about her. She will be sorely missed."
Templin also called Darla Napora a "private person," the type who made fun of people who posted their life stories on Facebook, and he declined to go into detail about her home affairs, other than to say she loved to garden and run -- even though she'd cut down on that recently because of her pregnancy.
He also said that she "loved her dogs," which he'd seen a few times before she got dropped off at the restaurant, and that she was "really happy about the baby."
Darla Napora's mother and sister were in the Bay Area
This death has reignited a fierce debate about whether pit bulls are the problems, or the people who own them.
The anti-pit bull set are calling on a ban of the dogs as pets, and those who run groups like Bad Rap, or Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls, cite the adorable attributes of pit bulls and point fingers at other breeds of dogs who bite and maul.
In a study by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association between 1978 and 1998, pit bulls topped the list of known breeds to have killed victims, followed by Rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies and Doberman pinschers.
But pit bulls aren't necessarily the problem, Delucchi said, although even the pit bull supporters would admit that "bigger dogs can do a whole lot more damage." It's often that people ignore or don't see signs of fear or aggression in an animal, and therefore, don't "take care of the problem immediately," Delucchi said.
Neither Tazi nor Gunner have ever had formal complaints against them, Delucchi said, and by all accounts, "they were good dogs."
If that proves to be true in Tazi's case, Delucchi said the humane society would be happy to give her back to Napora.
"He lost his wife and his unborn child and the dog is what he has left," Delucchi said. "Getting Tazi back would be the only good outcome."
Pit BULLS and other dogs have harmed and killed other bay area residents. Here is a list of some of THOSE cases:
2010: A pit bull attacked a 41-year-old San Jose woman in the 3000 block of Whitesand Drive in the Evergreen neighborhood of San Jose. The woman was bit on her arm and hip, and was released from the hospital.
2010: Jacob Bisbee, a 2-year-old Concord boy, was killed by three pit bulls owned by his step-grandfather.
2010: A 7-year-old East Oakland girl was bit in the face by a pit bull, and was expected to recover after a chunk of her cheek was ripped out.
2009: Two 80-pound, unneutered American bulldog-pit bull mix dogs, Sharky and Chief, attacked a San Jose animal control officer on her arms, legs and buttocks.
2008: A pit bull mix named Tazz, and unneutered 70-pound boxer/pit bull, savaged the face of a 20-month old girl and attacked her grandmother in San Jose in the 3800 block of Quimby Road.
2007: A neighbor's pit bull named Swisher attacked Angela Silva of Fremont when she was in her garage. She saved her baby from the attack by hiding it in a garbage can. Silva lived but had many surgeries and still lives with pain. Swisher also mangled the arm of a Denny's busboy in Hayward the previous week.
2005: Twelve-year-old Nicholas Faibish was mauled to death by the family's two pit bulls in San Francisco.
2001: Perhaps the most infamous of all the dog mauling cases in the Bay Area involved Diane Whipple, who was killed in her San Francisco apartment by two Presa Canario dogs.

Update August 15, 2011 - The following article is by Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle:

Pacifica woman attacked by pit bull bled to death

The pregnant Pacifica woman who was attacked by her pet pit bull bled to death, police said today.
Darla Napora, 32, died of blood loss and shock, according to a preliminary investigation by the San Mateo County coroner's office.
Napora's husband found her unconscious when he returned from work to their home on Reina del Mar at about noon Thursday. The dog stood over his wife's body before he dragged the animal to another part of the home, police said.
Two officers shot the pit bull to death when he got loose from the backyard after police arrived, authorities said.
A necropsy of the unneutered, 2-year-old male pit bull, Gunner, confirmed that the 125-pound animal was responsible for the attack, said police Capt. Dave Bertini.
A veterinarian at the Peninsula Humane Society reviewed hair and tissue samples and blood evidence to reach that conclusion, police said.
An examination of the couple's other pit bull, a female named Tazi, confirmed that she was not involved in the attack.
Teeth impressions were made of Gunner and Tazi, and they were compared with the wounds on Darla Napora, Bertini said.

Related articles:

  • Pregnant Pacifica Woman Killed By Pet Pit Bull - Patch
  • Pregnant Woman Mauled To Death By Family Pit Bull - KTVU
  • Pregnant Woman Mauled To Death By Family Pit Bull - KRXI 
  • Pregnant woman mauled and killed by her own pit bull - All Headline News 
  • Pregnant Woman Mauled To Death By Pet Pit Bull - WITN
  • Pregnant Calif. woman killed by family pit bull - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • Police 'put that dog down' after it kills pregnant California woman - CNN
  • Pit bull kills pregnant woman - WNEM
  • Pregnant Bay Area Woman Mauled and Killed by Pet Pitbull - KSEE
  • Pregnant Calif. woman killed by family pit bull - KABC
  • Officials Check Pit Bull For Cause of Fatal Attack on Pregnant Woman - Patch  
  • Bite experts conclude pit bull 'Gunner' sole attacker of Pacifica woman - Mercury News
  • Coroner: Prelim Autopsy Results Show Pit Bull "Responsible For This Attack" - Patch 
  • Blood loss, Shock Killed Pacifica Woman Mauled By Pit Bull - KSBW


  1. The first thing that struck me as odd about this story is that Greg Napora "...told officers the dog had been secured in the backyard before the mauling." - why???  Did he need to be "secured"?  Something doesn't seem right about this picture.

  2. I agree, as that has stuck with me as well.
    Also, in another link it quotes a neighbor as saying that the dogs would "bark" at each other, but would stop when Mrs. Napora would call their names.
    Beyond that, there's not enough information, currently, to come to a conclusion.
    Sad story, regardless.

  3. i think its just plain out stupid that tidiots have so much free time and try to find every little teany tiny flaw in some pitbull breeds and the either A:bad breed B:poorley trained or C:not pitbull at all (a well bred and trained pitbull will not show ANY agression towards human beings at all.) so i would highly suggest everyone of yous' to get a life and stop profiling. more labs bite than pits do. most of the dogs that are 'pitbulls' arent even full pitbulls.  that SAD picture below is what always happends.. vvvv ptibulls are the true ones getting abused and neglected. theyre getting abused by the media and by idiots.  please get a life if you obviously want to hate on pitbulls, rottiweilers german shepherds ect.

  4. I agree, something is wrong with this picture. Something really stinks. That was my gut reaction--and still is. Why was the husband suddenly home right after the mauling? Why was the dog put in the back and was able to get out when he was not able to before? We have no clue as to whether the husband could command the dog to attack. Did they have marital problems? Was the husband upset about the pregnancy? It would sicken me beyond anything if the husband caused the brutal attack. We also do not know if the woman was in any way abusive to the dog. These are variables that have not been vetted. I also find it odd that we are not getting an update on this story. The media is so hell bent on slautering this breed--and are irresponsible about the facts and statistics. I have an AMSTAF or what may be a mix with boxer. I have not done a DNA test. But she is the sweetest dog ever! I have had many dogs in my life, too. I would demand the media do a follow up so we have the rest of the story.

  5. Shelby, Who are you talking to?

  6. My loving 6yr old bully breed dog mauled me n my friend, who he also loved, one month after a rabies vaccine. Im an RN and also studied dog bite prevention for a yr, but did not know the risk for ADEM.


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