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4 pit bulls blamed for S. Calif. jogger's killing

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm •  Published: May 10, 2013

PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) — A pack of dogs remained under quarantine at a Mojave Desert shelter on Friday as investigators tried to determine whether they were involved in a mauling that killed a jogger.

By afternoon, Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide investigators had not announced any DNA match between the six pit bulls seized Thursday and the four believed to have attacked the woman in the high desert neighborhood of Littlerock earlier in the day, Deputy Guillermina Saldana said.

The county coroner's office identified her on Friday as Pamela Marie Devitt, 63, a local resident.

A woman in a car saw pit bulls attacking the runner in the area 65 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The driver called 911 and honked her horn to try to get the dogs to stop, sheriff's Lt. John Corina said.

An arriving deputy saw a single dog still attacking the jogger and tried to chase it off, Corina said.

"The dog ran off into the desert, then turned around and attacked the deputy," who took a shot at the animal before it ran off, Corina said.

The woman died in an ambulance on the way to a hospital, said Evelina Villa, spokeswoman for the county Department of Animal Care and Control.

Hours later, 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 pit bulls and two mixed-breeds. A 29-year-old man from the house, identified as Alex Donald Jackson, was arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.

The owner was cited previously because one of the dogs had attacked a horse, Villa said. She did not immediately have details.

The dogs were being kept under quarantine for rabies observation at a Lancaster shelter, said Marcia Mayeda, the county's animal control director.

"They're fine now," she said of their behavior. "They're all separated so they're not able to engage in a pack behavior, where they group up together and may act aggressively."

Their strange surroundings also may have intimidated them, she said.

Mayeda said the animals, five females and three males, are all adults weighing between 40 and 70 pounds, with the biggest being an overweight female Australian shepherd mix. The other mixed-breed appears to be a Labrador-collie, she said.

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