A witness describes a dog attack that ended when a neighbor intervened. Jacob Rascon reports for the NBC4 News at 11 a.m. on Wednesday Feb. 12, 2014.
A 53-year-old man was hospitalized Tuesday after a pack of pit bulls, which may have belonged to him, turned on him and attacked him so brutally that one witness said it looked like his face had been ripped off.
A neighbor who witnessed the attack intervened by ramming his van through a chain-link fence, hitting one of the dogs and scaring the rest away.
"Anybody would have helped. The guy was getting killed," the neighbor Ross Papish, pictured below, told NBC4.
The attack happened around 4:15 p.m. on Honey Lane, just east of Interstate 15 and north of Central Avenue in unincorporated Lake Elsinore, according to Riverside County Animal Services.
The victim was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, according to Animal Control Officer Christina Avila.
Riverside County Animal Services impounded six pit bulls – four adults and two puppies. The dogs were not fixed or licensed, which are requirements for unincorporated areas of Riverside County. One dog has since been put down, according to an NBC4 report.
A neighbor told NBC4 Wednesday that she saw four dogs on top of the victim at the time of the attack. She added that the victim owned all of the dogs. Authorities said that at least one of the dogs belonged to the victim.
In an off-camera interview, the neighbor told NBC4's Jacob Rascon that the victim looked as if his face had been ripped off.
“It was bad," said neighbor Cecilia Smith. "There were pieces of his flesh on the ground."
The victim may have been trying to break up a fight between the two male dogs, according to Avila. However the investigation is still ongoing.
The dog owner's roommate told NBC4 that the pit bulls attacked when the victim tried to hit one of them.
Papish said he decided to ram the fence after he couldn't get it to open.
"My dad is epic," Papish's son told NBC4. "He saved someone's life."