An elderly man was killed and a woman critically injured by a small pack of dogs that attacked them and first responders who came to their aid Friday afternoon in San Antonio, authorities said.
Two other people were bitten, one on a hand and the other, a city fire department captain, on the leg, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said at a news conference Friday. By Saturday night, the three survivors had been treated and released from the hospital, Animal Care Services and city police departments said in a joint statement.
San Antonio police had arrested the dogs’ owner in connection with the attack.
The identity of the slain man has not been released and the medical examiner’s office did not respond to a request for information on Saturday. Police said he was 81 and the seriously injured woman is 74. The city described her in a statement as her companion.
The couple were visiting relatives and had just gotten out of a vehicle shortly before 2 p.m. when at least two of the canines broke down a gate on the property where they were staying and attacked them, the city said.
The first city fire rescue crews on the scene saw a bloody man being dragged around a corner by dogs, Hood said. Rescuers fended off the canines with spikes and pikes, he said.
“This is not normal for us,” the boss said. «Normally we don’t show up and we have to defend the animal patients.»
The man was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Hood said.
The suspect, 31-year-old Christian Alexander Moreno, faces charges of possession of a dog involved in a fatal attack and battery to the elderly, both felonies, police said.
All three dogs involved in the attack or who were off his property at the time were euthanized, Animal Care Services said Saturday. The dogs were described as American Staffordshire Terriers.
The dogs, two females and one male, were quickly taken into the custody of Animal Care Services after the attack, said Shannon Sims, director of San Antonio Animal Care Services.
Animal Care Services workers seized all of the dogs at a property believed to be the home of the three terriers, Sims said.
In 2021, Animal Care Services seized dogs from the same residence after a «fight» in which minor biting was observed, Sims said. The dogs were quarantined but later released because a case was not possible without a witness affidavit.
For the past two years, dogs from the same residence have been the subject of reports of canines on the loose displaying aggressive behavior, he said.
An additional «confirmed bite» case involving at least two of the dogs believed to be responsible for Friday’s attack was reported in January, the city said.
Hood called the incident «horrible» and said firefighters took it upon themselves to protect themselves and their neighbors from the dogs.
“The firefighters were very heroic in this case,” he said.