STOCKTON (CBS13) – We’re getting our first look at the woman mauled and killed by a pit bull outside a Stockton home.

Neighbors claim the dog has caused problems in the past, but not surprisingly, the dog’s owner is defending the animal. CBS13 talked to the man and the victim’s family who are all caught in a tragic situation.

“I just can’t imagine the way she died you know, with the dog,” said Mario Gallardo, the victim’s brother.

Claudia Gallardo’s loved ones are having a tough time making sense of the loss.

“It’s not too easy for me,” said Juan Gallardo, Claudia’s father.

The pit bull named Russia mauled Claudia, the mother of three, to death behind the gates of an east Stockton home.

“It really upsets me and I’m just hurt right now really, I miss her a lot,” said Mario.

The dog’s owner, Brian Hrenko, says he wasn’t home during the attack, but claims his roommate saw Claudia jump the fence and was there to meet about a potential job.

After that, Russia attacked.

“I feel bad about it,” said Hrenko.

He says Claudia had been to the home at least once before and interacted well with the dog.

“He liked her; she got a long with him real good — better than most people do,” said Hrenko.

Some people on the block have complained about Russia’s aggressive behavior before. And even though the latest attack ended in Claudia’s death, Hrenko says he wants his pet back home.

“I don’t think they should kill him because he’s not a bad dog, he’s just really protective,” he said.

Claudia’s family hopes something is done so Russia doesn’t take another life.

“Well, it’s too late now,” said Mario. What can you do with the dog? Put him to sleep, that’s about it. But it’s not going to take back my sister.”

The dog won’t be put down — at least not yet. Russia will stay at the animal shelter until the investigation is over.


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