The celeb DJ and her bulldog Cadillac are at the center of a probe by animal control officials after the pooch's fatal attack yesterday on another dog in Ronson's apartment building.
"It's a pending criminal investigation," Deputy Director Michelle Roache of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control exclsuively tells E! News. "The attack is substantial."
Roache says the department will investigate all allegations made against the dog, gather evidence, and then present their case to the district attorney. Similar attacks have resulted in felony charges.
"It's all up to the courts whether or not a person is going to lose the right to own the dog, or that the dog be euthanized, or that there's restrictions against the dog," says Roache.
"They vary from [sentences where] the person can't own any dogs in the county of Los Angeles, to the court demanding the dog for euthanasia, or a lot of times they have to pay a fine. I haven't seen people jailed for an incident like this."
Roache says the department will investigate whether Cadillac has been involved in previous attacks.
"We have to backtrack into past incidents and find people who are involved or have any knowledge of the dog's behavior," says Roache.
Roache says the investigation will be "a long, lengthy process," probably taking between two and three months.
In the meantime, Roache says the dog can stay with Ronson or her family members since it did not attack a person.
"We don't believe there was a bite to any person," says Roache. "If the dog has bitten a person it has to be quarantined for 10 days and we don't allow the dog to leave the state."
Ronson has reportedly shipped Cadillac off to New York to be with her family, and Roache says this is an acceptable arrangement.
"If there's no proper way to resolve the incident and confine the dog safely so that it does not occur to anyone else during the filing of the criminal case, and we feel that the dog is a threat, then we would impound the dog," says Roache. "If they have another address where it has more responsible people or better confinement, that's something that is preferable over putting an animal in a shelter."
Ronson's rep has not responded to requests for comment. In a tweet last night, Ronson said, "I feel incredibly sad and wish I could offer more than condolences, unfortunately there are no words to describe how sorry I am."
(Originally published Aug. 31, 2010, at 11:01 a.m. PT)
Samantha Ronson's dog is one of many Very Important Pets in Hollywood.