Sheriff's estranged wife sues after police dog attack

Sheriff's estranged wife sues after police dog attack »Play Video
An intentionally blurred photo provided by attorney Daniel Rodriguez shows a wounded Victoria Youngblood, the estranged wife of Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood. Victoria Youngblood was reportedly bitten in April 2012 by a Bakersfield police dog during an investigation into her son, Aaron Youngblood.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Victoria Youngblood is on a mission to change Bakersfield Police K-9 policy. And she has filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Fresno hoping to do just that.

"I want to be that voice," said Youngblood.

The suit names the city of Bakersfield along with Police Chief Greg Williamson, Officer Christopher Dalton and others.

It was Easter Sunday when Youngblood says she went to bed and fell asleep at her home on Delany Court. She recalls seeing the outline of a wolf in her room and thought she was dreaming. Then the dream turned into a nightmare.

"I felt this crushing blow to my head," said Youngblood.

The 60-year-old former Kern County Sheriff's deputy did not know it at the time, but she was in the grip of a police K-9.

"The pressure was so intense and it was so excruciatingly painful it was digging into my skull and I could hear the bones cracking, crunching," said Youngblood.

She heard a voice ordering the dog to stop and the dog released its' grip. But then, the K-9 attacked a second time she said.

"I'm screaming for my life, I'm screaming for mercy, I'm screaming to God," she said.

Youngblood's right ear was almost severed but doctors at Kern Medical Center were able to reattach it. She suffered loss of hearing though some of it has come back, and bone fractures said Youngblood.

BPD Sgt. Joe Grubbs said in an earlier interview that police had gone to Youngblood's home to serve a search warrant in connection with the arrest of Aaron Youngblood on drug and weapons charges. Aaron does not live at the home and he was not there when the search warrant was served.

Grubbs said police announced their presence before going into Youngblood's house and that Youngblood did not respond.

The suit claims police violated Youngblood's right to be safe and secure in her home and to be free from the use of excessive force and unlawful search and seizure. It also claims assault and battery under California Law. And it asks for an unspecified monetary amount of damages.

Attorney Daniel Rodriguez said most importantly however, is BPD
K-9 policy. Rodriguez says the department used to have a "bite and hold" policy and switched to a "bark and hold" policy.

"One of the things that this law suit will do is get to the bottom of all this," said Rodriguez.

Youngblood says the incident has affected her family and left her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Friends put away dogs when she visits and she is afraid of them she said.

"To me, it was inexcusable, it did not have to happen," said Youngblood. "It could have been prevented."