LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Kelly Harris said she was on a walk with her Labradors two years ago when she learned of the deadly nature of a large dog owned by Marjorie Knoller, who is on trial in the dog-mauling death of a neighbor.
Describing the July 2000 encounter, Harris said her two pets began to circle one of Knoller's dogs when she received a warning about how dangerous the animal was.
``The female defendant said, 'Please leash your dogs. You don't know how serious this is. This dog has been abused. He'll kill your dogs,''' Harris testified Monday against Knoller.
Harris added, ``She was very insistent and she sounded afraid.''
Knoller, 46, is charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and having a mischievous animal that killed a human being. Her husband Robert Noel, 60, faces the latter two charges.
Their dogs, Hera and Bane, killed Diane Whipple, a 33-year-old college lacrosse coach, in a hallway outside Knoller's San Francisco apartment on Jan. 26, 2001.
Defense attorneys for the couple say the dogs' behavior was unexpected, and that Knoller was badly injured while trying to stop the attack.
In their attempt to prove that Knoller and Noel had plenty of warning the animals were dangerous before the attack, prosecutors have called 20 witnesses to describe incidents with the dogs. Nine testified Monday.
Some people testified that the two massive presa canario dogs snarled, barked or acted threatening on different occasions.
Skip Cooley, who lived next door to the defendants, testified that one dog once lunged at him as he got out of an elevator.
He also said the dogs were normally docile toward him, but would became ``attentive'' toward his 5-foot-tall wife who weighed less than the 100-pound animals. Both dogs were destroyed after the attack on Whipple.