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Delhi cyclist mauled by dogs

POSTED July 6, 2012 1:40 p.m.

A pack of dogs roaming through a Delhi neighborhood Wednesday morning attacked two cyclists, sending one man to the hospital with serious injuries, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department reported.

The dogs have been captured and are being kept in quarantine while the investigation into the attacks continues.

The first attack was reported to the sheriff’s department around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday. The cyclist, a Modesto man, told the sheriff’s department he had been riding in the area of Griffith Avenue and Clausen Road when a pack of five to six dogs came running toward him. The man said the dogs chased him and at least one of them bit him before he could get away. The bite caused a minor injury, sheriff spokesman Sgt. Scott Dover said.

Deputies responded to the area, but did not find any of the dogs, Dover said.

About 35 minutes later the sheriff’s department received a second report of the dogs attacking a cyclist in the same area.

The report came from a woman who said she saw the dogs charge at a cyclist and knock him off his bicycle.

The woman said the dogs “were mauling him,” Dover said.

Deputies and emergency personnel responded to the scene and found the victim, a 49-year-old Delhi man, with multiple dog bites on his body, especially to his arms and legs. Dover said the injuries were severe and the man was rushed by ambulance to Emanuel Medical Center. The victim is currently in stable but serious condition and likely will remain hospitalized for at least a few more days, Dover said.

The dogs had disappeared from the scene again, but deputies, with the assistance of animal control officers, were able to locate and capture the dogs.

In all, six dogs were captured. Five of the dogs are Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes. One dog is a Black Labrador, but it’s uncertain if that dog was involved in the attack, Dover said.

Investigators will be questioning the victim to determine which dogs were involved.

All the dogs came from three homes and Dover said the neighbors told deputies there had been an ongoing problem of the dogs jumping fences and running free, though no complaints were filed with the sheriff’s department.

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office will determine if the dogs’ owners will face criminal charges. Animal control has custody of the dogs and will decide if they have to be euthanized.

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