Police in Modesto, California, said that a 21-year-old man was allegedly mauled and killed by two pit bulls last week, it was reported.
Dustin Bryan was identified by his sister as the victim in the case, reported KTXL.
“It was horrific enough for our officers to call and treat this as a suspicious death. So investigators did respond to just ensure that what was going on,” said Modesto Police Sgt. Kalani Souza to the news outlet.
Officials suspect that 13-year-old Beze and 5-year-old Saxon, two pit bulls owned by the family, attacked Bryan at around 7 a.m.
The Stanislaus County Animal Services Agency has custody of the dogs, placing them in quarantine. The two animals, while in quarantine, will be tested for rabies.
“It’s not a good situation at all,” said Stanislaus County Animal Services Executive Director Annette Patton, according to the news report. “We really feel for the family because my understanding is there’s been no aggression shown from these dogs. It’s just a very unique situation and a sad situation.”
Patton said the dogs have to be in quarantine for 10 days, meaning there is a “lockdown situation” at the animal shelter.
A family member of Bryan told the Modesto Bee newspaper that the dogs were never aggressive.
But a neighbor, Zenia Luna, told the same news outlet that the dogs were aggressive, repeatedly snapping at her dogs through the fence. She said the dogs charged at her 9-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son when they went trick-or-treating during Halloween of last year.
The animals “came barking out, pushing the screen door open and my son ran but my daughter panicked and just stayed there,” Luna said. “Luckily my husband ran and picked her up. They are very vicious dogs.”
“They tried to get through the fence, through my yard. And I had to bring my dogs in because they were big dogs,” neighbor Javier Castro told KCRA.
At the same time, police are trying to determine why the pit bulls attacked Bryan, who presumably had been around the dogs before.
“We do not know how much interaction he’s had with the dogs up to this point, if they were kept separate. We are still investigating all of that,” Souza told KTXL.
Luna told the Bee that she didn’t report the alleged incidents. Souza said there were no complaints lodged against the dogs, adding that neither animal had been licensed.
It’s not clear if anyone will be charged in the case.
An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the man’s cause of death.
Officials haven’t released any more details on the incident.