After two pit bulls attacked a woman and left her severely injured in Perris Thursday, officials discovered the dogs’ owner had apparently been dead for some time inside his home nearby.
The woman was walking and pushing her bike when the dogs targeted her around 4 p.m. in the 21000 block of Corina Drive, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said in a news release.
Neighbors ran to help after the woman began yelling, and one man said the dogs continued their assault as she lay on the ground. One hound was going for her neck while the other bit her shoulder, the witness told a sheriff’s deputy at the scene.
One neighbor even hit the dogs with a shovel in attempt to halt the attack, Animal Services said.
The woman was taken to a hospital, while officials captured and impounded the dogs.
The deputy who responded to investigate followed the dogs as they retreated to a nearby property and discovered a man, believed to be their owner, dead inside the home.
His body was badly decomposed. It’s unknown how long it had been there, but no foul play is suspected, authorities said.
Sheriff’s investigators said they did not detect any bite marks on the remains.
A gate at the house had been left open, allowing the dogs to roam freely. Animal Services was called earlier in the week about two loose dogs in the area, but the reporting party didn’t provide an address and officials were unable to locate them.
“We are always saddened when one of our residents are attacked in such a vicious manner,” Animal Services Cmdr. Chris Mayer said in a statement. “That’s why we appreciate tips about roaming dogs.”
Animal Services said both pit bulls were microchipped, though their licenses expired in June.
Authorities did not say whether they would move to euthanize the dogs or allow them to be adopted out.