Charges filed against owners of pit bulls that attacked and killed Golden resident

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A view of Golden, Colorado, July 8, 2022. The Colorado School of Mines is lower middle, and the Coors brewery is at the east end of the city.

The alleged owners of two pitbulls in Golden are facing potential jail time and hefty fines after their dogs attacked and killed an 88-year-old woman. 

Jefferson County District Attorney Alexis King filed multiple charges of unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog against Kayla Mooney and Victor Bentley in district court on Monday. Mooney faces four counts. Bentley faces two.

If convicted of a felony, Mooney could face a maximum of six years in prison. Bentley could face a maximum of 3 years. 

Mooney owned one of the 7-year-old dogs at the time of the attack. Bentley owned the other. 

Mooney was charged for both dogs because they were physically being kept at her house, according to the case affidavit. Bentley lives elsewhere. 

On Sept. 14, the two pit bulls attacked Mary Gehring, 88, and her grandson, 12, in the backyard of a home on West 1st Avenue. The dogs were known to the two victims, but had never been reported for aggressive behavior, according to the Golden Police Department. 

As the attack took place, the grandson ran to a neighbor’s house to seek help, police said. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered the two dogs attacking Gehring. 

Officers then placed themselves between the dogs and Gehring.

They used stun guns and less-lethal shotguns to create distance between them, police said. But each time the officers approached Gehring, who was on the ground, the dogs would circle the officers, complicating rescue efforts. 

The officers called for backup, and eventually were able to transport Gehring to St. Anthony’s hospital. She later died from her injuries. 

Paramedics transferred the grandson to Children’s Hospital for treatment for his injuries. 

Police detained the dogs. Both were ultimately euthanized. 

It’s unclear if both dogs were licensed and vaccinated, per city laws, according to police. Golden currently does not have any specific breed bans in place. 

State law bans the ownership of dogs that injure or kill people. Owners can face a range of criminal convictions, including felonies, if their dog is involved in a fatal attack, according to the statute. 

The maximum punishment is 3 years in jail. Fines can rack up to $100,000. 

The case involving Mooney and Bentley is still pending. Both are required to appear in district court on Nov. 22.