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City to decide fate of pit bulls accused in bloody Tacoma mauling

TACOMA, Wash. -- The owner of two pit bulls accused of viciously attacking a Tacoma woman says her dogs are innocent, and now a hearing examiner will decide the fate of the dogs.

Surveillance video shows the moment two pit bulls pounced on Donna Berto outside a Tacoma smoke shop in late July.

"I started for the door and next thing I remember I was on the ground," Berto said of the attack. "I could feel him biting my head, biting my hand, biting my legs."

Berto, who still faces more surgeries, says she didn't provoke the dogs. She agrees with the City of Tacoma that both dogs should be euthanized.

"I just don't think anybody should have dogs that are dangerous," she said.

Officials later tracked down the two dogs suspected in the mauling, but their owner claims it's a case of mistaken identity.

At a Wednesday hearing to determine the fate of the confiscated dogs, owner Devin Cannady cried and tried to prove that Animal Control officers seized the wrong pit bulls.

"Multiple dogs, many dogs, it's very common to look the same way," Cannady said.

But Berto, Puyallup Tribal Police, and other witnesses all say they found the correct dogs.

"It is the spitting image of the dog that attacked Ms. Berto," said Berto's attorney, Chris Davis.

Davis said the July attack wasn't the first time Cannady's pit bull Paws has bitten someone.

"Back in 2013 in City of Federal Way, one of the dogs attacked an elderly woman as well, and the city of Federal Way designated the dogs potentially dangerous," Davis said.

Davis wants Tacoma to declare the dogs dangerous, too. Berto says she loves animals, and she believes Cannady is just trying to save her pets.

"And I can understand that, but she hasn't been victimized like I have," Berto said.

It could take several days, if not weeks, for the hearing examiner to decide whether to return the dogs to their owner, transfer them to another city, or have them humanely euthanized.

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