Two members of an elite running family from the North County were seriously injured in an attack by a pack of pitbulls Sunday.
The two brothers were out for a run just after 5 p.m. on Cobb Lane near Valley Center Middle School in Valley Center.
"The dogs had him on his back, and they were just ripping him apart," she said. "From what we were hearing, Richard was telling us to keep running, but he was being torn apart."
Richard suffered at least bites to his calf, thighs and his arm pit. One bite came dangerously close to a neck artery according to the family.
Heather Garritson said her brother was inches away from bleeding to death. She also said Richard is still hospitalized to guard against the risk of infection. The most severe injury was to one calf where tissue is missing she said.
John suffered calf injuries but was able to carry Richard to a safer location so they could get help their sister said.
“They took on the dogs to protect their sisters and niece and apparently got mauled pretty badly,” said family friend Kim Oakley.
“They only had their shorts on because it was about 80-degress today in Valley Center so both Richard and John got injured primarily on their legs,” Oakley said.
Four dogs were seized Sunday night and euthanized after the owner requested the dogs be put down according to officials at San Diego County Animal Services.
Officials said there were three other dogs tied up or inside the owner's home when the attack happened.
Charges have not yet been filed but officials are looking into the owner's past to make a final determination.
Several national publications including Runner's World Magazine have featured the family.
The articles, which mostly date back to the 1980s and 1990s, paint the family as intense, elite runners according to the North County Times.
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