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Killer dog owner sentenced
- by Nick Mays

THE OWNER of two Presa Canario dogs who mauled a woman to death outside her apartment in San Francisco has been sentenced to four years imprisonment.

Marjorie Knoller, 46 and her husband, Robert Noel, 60, were put on trial in Los Angeles in March this year after their dogs Bane and Hera attacked and killed neighbour Diane Whipple, a 33-year-old San Francisco lacrosse coach. Whipple was killed in the hallway of the apartment building she shared with Knoller and Noel as she returned home from a trip to the grocery store on January 26th 2001.

The prosecution laid out more than 30 incidents or warnings involving the 100-plus-pound dogs, which were destroyed after the attack. All the warnings given about the dogs had been ignored by the couple.

Knoller will serve about 15 months of her term, as she has been in prison on remand since being arrested after the incident.

The five-week trial gripped much of the nation as prosecutors described a horrific attack in which Whipple was bitten all over her body - her throat ripped, her clothes torn off - by at least one of the dogs.

Knoller was found guilty of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and having a mischievous animal that kills. Noel was found guilty on the latter two counts and is currently serving a four-year term for manslaughter resulting from the attack.

Knoller has appealed against her sentence after her conviction for murder was dismissed by the Appeal Court last month.