DNA Tests Expected on Dogs Suspected in Fatal Mauling

One of the dogs remaining at the scene charged a responding deputy

By Melissa Pamer, Gordon Tokumatsu, Beverly White and Jason Kandel
|  Thursday, May 9, 2013  |  Updated 11:41 PM PDT
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Four dogs, pit bulls and mixes among them, were taken into custody after fatally mauling a 63-year-old woman. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

Four dogs, pit bulls and mixes among them, were taken into custody after fatally mauling a 63-year-old woman. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

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Pit Bulls In Fatal Mauling Seized, Couple Arrested: Police

Deputies took at least two people and eight pit bulls into custody Thursday, possibly in connection with the case of a woman attacked and killed by pit bulls. An abundance of law enforcement were stationed outside a Littlerock home, questioning residents and extracting dogs from the home. Beverly White reports from Littlerock for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on May 9, 2013.

Pit Bulls Maul Woman to Death

A woman died Thursday after she was attacked by pit bulls while walking in the Littlerock area near Palmdale. Sheriff's deputies are searching the area for as many as four dogs that may have been involved in the attack. A $25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to their capture. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Littlerock for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 9, 2013.
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Officials were hoping to take DNA samples from four dogs seized by deputies near where a woman was fatally mauled in the Antelope Valley to try to determine whether they were responsible for the Thursday morning attack, officials said.

The dogs, including pit bulls and mixed breeds, were removed from a home on 115th Street in Littlerock.

After an all day ground and air search, investigators wound up near where they started.

"We had information from animal control and people live in the area that dogs here match the description of the dogs that attacked this woman,” said Lt. John Corina, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “We had complaints before about these dogs being aggressive."

Reverse 911 calls about the attack went over a two-mile radius.

Neighbors appreciate the alert but say the breed is not the problem.

"I know a lot of people with pits, got ‘em as puppies,” said Edwina Lewis, an animal advocate. “They're as loving as my little doxie! It depends on how an animal is raised."

The 29-year-old dog-owner was arrested for allegedly growing marijuana.

If his dogs are linked to the killing, investigators said they’d mull additional charges.

"That'll be up to the DA, of course,” Corini said. “Anything from manslaughter to murder or nothing at all."

The woman was attacked while jogging at 115th Street East and Avenue S (map) in the unincorporated Littlerock area.

The department sent an alert at 1:48 p.m. that said: "DANGER: Active search for vicious pit bull dogs."

Deputies searched by ground and by air from helicopters for the dogs.

Aerial video showed animal control vehicles searching the desert area, and a large police response at a home near the site of the mauling.

At least four dogs were taken from the home after deputies served a search warrant after 5 p.m. Women at the home were screaming as the dogs were taken away, and two men appeared to be in custody in the back of a patrol car.

County Supervisor Mike Antonovich announced late Thursday that he was offering a $25,000 reward "for information leading to the capture of the 4 killer pit bulls."

A witness called 911 at 9:30 a.m. after seeing a pack of dogs surrounding something that turned out to be the woman, police said.

By the time a deputy arrived, only one dog remained, authorities said.

"He tried to chase the dog off; the dog charged the deputy. That's when the deputy shot at the dog," Corina said. "As far as we know, he didn't hit the dog. So we're in the process of looking for these four dogs that are running around out here in the desert."

 

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