Owner Flees After Pit Bulls Maul Woman In South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A woman required stitches after she was mauled by four pit bulls in a southeastern South Dakota town and police believe the dogs’ owner fled with the animals to escape punishment.

Authorities say the 55-year-old victim suffered 17 bite wounds when the dogs attacked her Monday morning as she walked in Freeman, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Sioux Falls. She was treated at a hospital for serious injuries that required nine stitches, police said.

The dogs were inside the owner's house when police arrived. The man refused to “surrender the animals," said Jay Slevin, a Freeman police officer.

Slevin said that while he was waiting for backup, the owner escaped out the back door with the dogs. Police believe he took them to a friend’s house in Sioux Falls.

The Freeman police have had previous issues with the animals but “nothing like this,” Slevin said. Police believe the dogs initially escaped by pushing out the back door.

The owner is facing four counts of keeping and maintaining of vicious animals, letting dogs run at large, and disturbing the peace.

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This story was first published on June 15. It was updated on June 21 to correct the spelling of Freeman police Officer Jay Slevin’s last name, which had been misspelled in two instances as “Selvin.”