Watch: Loose Dog Attacks and Kills Sea Lion Below Montage Resort

The bulldog mix is owned by the stepdaughter of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. The sea lion, which had apparently been sick, died from its wounds.


A dog belonging to a relative of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords attacked and killed an apparently sick sea lion Saturday at Goff Beach, just below the Montage resort.

According to published reports, the 65-pound bulldog mix was being walked on a leash by the daughter of retired astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband. The dog reportedly broke free and charged after the sea lion.

In the video, the dog has its jaws locked onto the sea lion's face. Passersby attempt to separate the animals -- one woman can be seen hitting the dog -- as onlookers scream and cry. Eventually, Kelly appears in the video, shakes the dog loose, and leads it away. Kelly later met with police and discussed the incident.

The sea lion died from its wounds.

Earlier Saturday, police encountered the sea lion when officers freed it from a storm drain in which it had become stuck at Aliso Beach, according to Capt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach Police Department. The sea lion went back into the ocean and swam south to Goff Beach, Kravetz said.


There have been overwhelming numbers of sick sea lions turning up on the beaches of Laguna Beach and Orange County this year, according to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

Giffords, who was vacationing with her family in Laguna Beach, was not involved in the incident.

Giffords survived a shooting that killed six people in her Tucson, Arizona district in January 2011. She retired from Congress in January 2012 to concentrate on her recovery.

Laguna Beach police didn't cite Kelly's daughter because it's legal to have leashed dogs on the beach at this time of year (although not in the busy summer tourist season).

"It's just a very, very unfortunate event," said Kravetz.

-- City News Service contributed to this story.

Thomas Zakis March 26, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Easy they are politicians. They are above the laws of the land for them, their family and their friends respectively. If it was you or I we would of been citied our dog impounded and euthanized at the least. This dog needs to be put down for destroying a protected species and the dogs owner cited for failure to control her animal. I am outraged!!!
RiverBoatQueen March 26, 2013 at 07:15 PM
This vicious dog must be put down. He should have been walked with a choke collar on to begin with, because he was too strong for the young girl to control. Her father must have known this. It is a crime to kill wildlife in Laguna Beach and this loose dog must be held accountable for it's actions. The only way to assure it will never happen again is to put the animal down.
mocker March 26, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Sherm and Thomas, good points. Riverboat, animals have a different view of what right and wrong, killing the dog won't teach other tourists dogs who don't know this happened a thing in future dealings with seals. Christina if you live in Laguna don't say your low in social economic status or 'ethnic'. Mexicans are the majority population in California not a minority. Gilda again the Mexican comment. Mexicans get away with all kinds of law breaking, ever heard of people working here illegally? No this comes down not to racial bias but to gender bias. If this was a man, white, brown, black, he would be in trouble, fined and cited for wrecklass endangerment. But its a girl, she get the USA's famous double standard extended to all women, funding for counseling her after her trauma, letters of support for being a victim of this rude dogs bad behaviour, and all she has to do to stay out of trouble is blame PMS, abuse, or depression. She could kill a couple of bystanders too and she would get xanax and therapy but no time behind bars.
Eric Bergstrom March 26, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Hmmmm....What would happen if this sick sea lion pup were out in the water and a shark swam up and killed it? Would we send the Coast Guard out to bring this dangerous shark to justice? It is VERY sad what happened to this poor sea lion, but this is nature and this is the world we live in. Sounds to me, as Rich Kane stated, like an unfortunate set of circumstances.
mocker March 26, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Exactly Eric, but what if for a moment we said it was a Mexican shark who swam north of the 51st parallel to needlessly attack a white seal...
Anony Mouse March 26, 2013 at 11:33 PM
The dog was leashed. You can see the leash extending from the collar to the water in the video. The girl just lost control of the leash.
Sandra Gibson March 27, 2013 at 03:25 AM
this is heartbreaking,the young seal an innocent creature who is struggling to survive disease and starvation had to die a horrific death because the owner was and not able to control her dog. Lets call it what it is, and not dress it up with a nice PC name, it is a PIT BULL a descendent of generations of ancestors that were selectively breed for aggression to maim and even kill other animals and people. If a ordinary citizen not a 'celebrity' had been involved the owner would have almost certainly received a citation, for this horrific event..shame on LB animal control.
jamie March 27, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Dogs are bred for certain purposes. You cannot keep my golden out of the water. She lives to bring balls in from the water, which makes Lagunas leash law problematic for me. Do I keep the leash on in the water for it to catch on something? The pit bull was bred for what we saw. Not a big fan, especially when they are owned by people who do not realize that they should be doing 3x the training I have had to do with my dog. If there was a "Leave it" or "release" command and the dog was properly trained this might have just been a dog bite instead of a death.
Eric Bergstrom March 27, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Good points, Jamie.
StarJasmine78 March 28, 2013 at 12:22 AM
I agree; everyone needs to remember that this is NATURE. It's very sad that the sea lion died, my heart hurts...but the dog was just doing what dogs do! Get on with your lives, people!
StarJasmine78 March 28, 2013 at 12:28 AM
This dog was NOT a pit bull, what is wrong with everyone? It was a bull dog, yes...but everyone is so quick to jump on the pit bull bandwagon.
StarJasmine78 March 28, 2013 at 12:38 AM
I agree, Jamie...you make some good points. I have a pit bull and I have done a TON of training with him, but when they're in that zone...well, you know the rest. This dog was not a pit bull, but still a tenacious bull dog...and honestly, I'm not sure that any amount of training would have been able to stop it once it got started, but at least one could try. That's why I just don't put my dog in those "tempting" situations... I can't afford to lose him. So I let him play off-leash only with dogs he knows and when in public, he's strictly on a leash (with a pinch collar so I can control him)- so that if a dog comes after him (which has happened to me on more fingers than I'd like to count, usually by Labs, believe it or not!), I can get him out of the situation before he FINISHES it. People don't understand the strength of their dogs and what to do once something like that happens; better to just protect them beforehand. It's just a real shame; the sad part is you can even see that the dog knew he was in big trouble but didn't know why or just couldn't help himself. It's survival of the fittest, it just stinks that the seal was ill and couldn't swim off before this happened:-(
Eric Bergstrom March 28, 2013 at 05:30 AM
Well, if anything, at least this brought more attention to the problem plaguing the sea lions along the coast. Is it water pollution? A lack of food? A problem with the water, like Red Tide? What can we do to help them?
Marc Lemieux March 28, 2013 at 05:00 PM
No laws were broken" my rear end! 1. The leash law says that the dog has to be restrained so as to prevent it from being at large or stray and from biting or harassing people or animals engaged in lawful activity. The dog owner or custodian did not have sufficient control in this case (obviously!) 2. There is a State Fish and Game code that states it is a misdemeanor for a dog to harass wildife. Really now, isn't it time that we impose some reasonable and common sense restrictions on these "assault dogs"? Was this dog registered? Did the owner undergo a background check? Why would a law abiding citizen need a dog that weighs more than 50 lbs? Many children and old people are injured or killed every year in unprovoked dog attacks, we don't want to restrict "hunting dogs", just these high capacity killing machines! If it only saves one life it's worth it!
Mike Proctor March 28, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Are you kidding me? If you can't see the double standard here, you are blind, and comparing this with a shark attack....that is just ridiculous. Sure, its natural for a dog to go after another animals. No different then a retriever going after a bunny on the trail. Thats not the issue. The issue here is how laws are applied an enforced based on a persons standing or position in the community. There are several laws that may have, or were broken in this unfortunate situtaion. 1. Failure to control your pet 2. The injury or death of a protected animal 3. The killing of a protected animal in a Marine Protection Area (MPA) 4. A dog on the beach Accident or not, laws were broken. If this was the average citizen, they would have been cited for one, or all of the above, and possibly the dog would have been confiscated and placed in quarantined, and labeled a vicious and dangerous animal. If this was a minority, the stereo types and racist BS would be all over the comments sections of every paper and blog. Now, lets take it a step further...imagine if this was a someone like Sara Palin and her family walking their dog on the beach...the national press would have been on this story, and calling for heads on a platter. BUT because the owners were from a well known liberal leaning family, the main stream press has ignored it, and everyone has either made excuses or called it a "simple accident".
Mike Proctor March 28, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Part Two: ran out of space ...................... Honestly, I am glad the main stream press has ignored this almost non news story, but they have ignored it not because it's a non news story, the true reason is because of who the the owners of the dog are.
Garrett Lencioni March 28, 2013 at 08:13 PM
People are idiots the dog didn't attack for no reason. Any dog in the world will attack to protect and the dog obviously felt threatened by the animal who was way bigger. I feel bad for the sealion of course. But I'm not gonna blame my breed of doog because bulldogs and pitbull terriers are good dog and the breed had nothing to do with it
Garrett Lencioni March 28, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Also marc pitbull terriers are a hunting dog.
rock March 28, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Marc your an idiot with your "assault dog" comments followed by saying why do owners need any dogs over 50 lbs? Why, because they want to have a dog over 50lbs,That's why.. A background check? You are an idiot, yet who can decide not to let you keep being one. I have no right to decide if you exist, and no one should be on any panel deciding who gets to have dogs. Even if it a girl who isn't strong enough to handle the dog, what if a big guy owned it but had to do something and asked her to hold the leash. Should a leash holding background check be done... You're an idiot, It's a free country, until too many people like you start voting.
Mike Proctor March 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM
hahahahaha Rock....you missed the sarcasm and anti gun satire in Marc's post. LOL. You are right, it is a free country. I remember when i use to be able to fish and spear off Laguna Beach, until people got to vote. Oh yeah, thats right, no one got to vote on the that one.....so much for that "Free Country" stuff. ;-)
ms.sc. March 29, 2013 at 04:11 AM
This video was horrific and sad. Reality is nature does take place...survival-of-the-fittest. Sadly the sea lion was ill. That should be a wake-up call. The dog, no matter whom owns him is a threat to the public! Some say the dog reflects their owner. I agree.
Vikki Foley March 29, 2013 at 05:55 AM
@Eric That is an absurd analogy. But I do agree with you--this is the world we live in where the elite get a pass. Captain Kelly is not only a coward for not standing up to his daughter by turning over the dog to to AC to be euthanized, he is ignorant beyond belief to allow a dog like that near his disabled wife. Dogs don't just to wake up one day and decide to be aggressive. If Ms.Giffords were to fall, that dog could react very badly. I would NEVER allow a large dog of a certain strong-willed genetic make-up near my elderly parents. People need to wake up and realize some dogs are so unpredictable this makes them just as dangerous as a loaded gun. A 14 year old girl was mauled to death Monday because she wouldn't share her meat pie with the dog. I find it ironic that Captain Kelly allows his daughter to own such a viscous animal. I'll bet Kelly is nervous as hell this dog is going to attack a person or animal again and clearly his daughter can't physically or emotionally handle that dog. My guess is he's offering his little princess a Porsche if she'll put the dog down back in Texas. And as for this meter maid idiot Mr. Beres, the citizens who pay his salary should call for his AND his supervisors resignation immediately. "It was actually the stress of the attack that killed the sea lion and not the actual dog bites. The wounds from the teeth were only superficial in nature," said Jim Beres with Laguna Beach Animal Control. Give me a break
ms.sc. March 29, 2013 at 06:36 AM
Thank you for your humanity. I also feel your sadness.
Kyle Banashek April 01, 2013 at 02:16 PM
The incident would not have happened if THAT owner was not on the beach Saturday attempting to walk the dog. There was a decision made by the owner that this dog is capable of being in public without acting out like it did. Broke off the leash or not, it's still your responsibility to: A. Make sure your equipment is working properly B. Your pet is trained to handle public situations such as being on a beach and not acting out in the manner in which it did. The OWNER is ABSOLUTELY at fault and should be cited and I hope made an example of(i know that won't seeing they're a member of the country club). This really is a horrific event that could have easily been avoided with some forethought by the owner. It's not the dogs fault and shame on anyone who tries to put the finger at him.
Sandra Gibson April 01, 2013 at 03:54 PM
'Star Jasmine', you are an idiot, in total denial that you are an owner of a dangerous dog............ Educate yourself ! and look up the breed description in Wikipedia or the dictionary if you own one, which you probably do not so here it is .... Wikipedia.."..PIT BULL refers to certain breeds of dogs- namely The American Pit bull, The Staffordshire Terrier, etc" . .....and any of the combination of the 'bully breeds', it is a 'TYPE' of dog; ' Webster Dictionary description is ; "a .powerful compact, short haired dog developed for fighting". In addition the AKC does not recognize a singular breed called the pit bull..............in conclusion the dog that killed the sea lion pup, was a bully breed mix AKA ..PIT BULL.
mocker April 01, 2013 at 10:00 PM
OK Sandra, I read your wiki definition of a pit bull, That Seals it for me...Now if it attacks a Sea Lion, is that a fair enough fight? Wait 'n sea i guess.
Rich Kane April 03, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Hey everybody -- Looks like the Feds are doing an investigation on this, so the story isn't over ... we have an update right here: http://patch.com/A-3tGl
WhyDoYouCare? April 13, 2013 at 06:07 AM
Why must people care so much about this? You're all so stupid. If this dog is so dangerous, why hasn't it attacked others? For those saying that the dog that should be put down, have you ever OWNED a dog? If yes, then you should know how dogs act. Even the smallest of dogs can be protective. This is a dog eat dog world.... Or dog eat sea lion in this case. You live or you die. Just forget about it. It's sad true, but seriously, it died. No one gives half a rat's ass about it. If it never died, you would have never cared about it. So why bother now? Pushing for something that you don't even relate to? Go mourn over your own dead family members.
Marc Lemieux April 13, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Why do I care? I'll tell you why because you seem to be the one who is ""äll so stupid". First I am a responsible dog owner, that means that even though I love my pit-bull I recognize that he is strong, stupid, and stubborn. I wouldn't dream of taking him for a walk on that beach even though he is always on a choker/muzzle and I'm built like a 220lb linebacker Secondly it's an issue of celebrity favoritism. You can bet your dumb-A$$ that if Jose Cuervo from Santa Ana was walking his chihuaha on that beach and it chased a sea-lion into the water our friend Jose would have gotten a free ride to jail and a matching set of bracelets, while his dog would have gotten the one-way sight seeing excursion to the "disposition room" at the County Animal Control facility.
Jason Jepperson April 26, 2013 at 04:13 PM
How ridiculous is that. If a shark killed the seal, wouldn't that also be a possible protected species doing what it does everyday. Your not even on topic, I am suprised their is no censor to take this idiotic comment off. Pull your head of your ass.


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