PALMDALE, Calif. – Authorities in rural Los Angeles County were warning people to be on the lookout for four pit bulls suspected of killing a 63-year-old jogger Thursday, and they have seized several dogs in a search for those who may have taken part in the attack.
Sheriff's Lt. John Corina told reporters that a woman in a car saw the dogs attacking the female jogger Thursday morning. The witness called 911 and honked her horn to try to get the dogs to stop.
"When the first deputy on scene saw one dog still attacking the woman, he tried to chase the dog away," Corina said. "The dog ran off into the desert, then turned around and attacked the deputy, the deputy fired a round at the dog and tried to kill the dog, and the dog took off into the desert."
The woman died while she was in an ambulance on the way to a hospital near the high desert community of Littlerock, about 65 miles northeast of Los Angeles, said Evelina Villa, county animal control spokeswoman.
The coroner's office was investigating to determine the cause of death.
Sheriff's officials alerted people in the area to watch for the four tan dogs, and they were using a helicopter to search for them.
Later Thursday sheriff's and animal control officials served a search warrant on a home near the site of the attack and took away eight dogs, six of them pit bulls and two of them of mixed breeds, the Sheriff's Department said in a Statement.
Investigators were trying to determine whether the dogs were involved in the attack.
A 29-year-old man from the house was arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.
It was unclear whether the dogs that attacked the woman had collars or owners.
"In these areas, you might have a situation where people dump animals out in rural areas," said John Mlynar, a spokesman for the nearby city of Palmdale. He added that he'd never heard of an attack like Thursday's.
Residents who live near the site of the attack said stray dogs are constantly roaming the area and have attacked people before.
"It's really scary," Diane Huffman, of Littlerock, told KABC-TV. "I don't know what to think. I really think I'm going to be getting a gun to protect myself."