VALLEY CENTER, Calif. (AP) — A San Diego County runner who said he had chunks torn from his legs by pit bulls said he thought he would die during the mauling.
"I was dripping blood from all over — my shirt, socks, shoes," Richard Garritson, 21, told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Monday after undergoing surgery.
Garritson and his brother were attacked by a pack of pit bulls as they jogged on a trail late Sunday afternoon about a mile from their home.
Garritson said he was running ahead of his sister, Meagan Garritson, when at least eight dogs attacked. One bit his leg and a second grabbed his other leg, knocking him down, Garritson said.
He yelled for his sister to run as he tried to fight off the dogs, which surrounded him. They snapped at his legs and arms. One bit him under his armpit.
"I was terrified," he said. "I thought I was going to die. They just kept biting at my legs and thighs."
Garritson, who already had run three miles, was running out of energy and yelled for his 20-year-old brother, John Garrison, who grabbed a stick and tried to fend off the dogs.
He also was attacked as the dogs kept rushing between the two brothers, Richard Garritson said.
He said the brothers knew where the dogs lived and they yelled for the owner, who managed to get all but three dogs into the house. The owner finally put a leash on one of the larger dogs and the others broke off the attack, Richard Garritson said.
The brothers walked to a neighbor's house and a woman there called county sheriff's deputies.
"We could barely hold ourselves up," he said.
Richard Garritson, who comes from a family of competitive runners, said his doctor told him that he probably will be able to run again even though he lost chunks from his lower legs.
John Garritson suffered less serious bites to his legs. Their two sisters and a 9-year-old niece were not attacked.
Four dogs, all 7-month-old pit bull mixes, were destroyed at the owner's request, county animal control Lt. Dan DeSousa said.
The department continues to investigate and will decide whether to pursue charges against the owner, he said.