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A pack of wild dogs on the loose in a southern New Jersey town attacked several people, including one man who was forced to use a metal pipe to fend off his four-legged attackers, before police were able to capture the animals Monday afternoon.
In a home security video the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department posted to Facebook on Tuesday, three loose dogs are seen barking and chasing after a man, who is heard screaming and swinging a metal pipe in self-defense. The dogs fled the scene as a police vehicle approached.
The unidentified man is one of six victims terrorized and bitten on Monday. Among the victims are a 69-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man, both of whom were bitten multiple times, according to police.
After the latest attack, officers were able to capture the animals from the video and bring them to an animal control center.
"We would like to extend our sympathies to the victims and all of the residents of that neighborhood," the police department wrote in a Facebook statement on Tuesday. "Yesterday's events were horrific, and nobody should live in fear of allowing their children to play outside, walk down the street or simply get the mail."
One victim, John Kita, was working in his driveway when the dogs approached him. One dog bit him through his jeans on the thigh before a neighbor came to help.
"(I was) cleaning out the van, all of a sudden from behind my house on the side, these three dogs come barking at me very aggressively," Kita told WPVI-TV.
Police said that of the six people attacked, four were taken via ambulance to the hospital – including a woman whose arm was bitten to the bone.
These incidents are the latest in a string of attacks involving these dogs. There have been at least seven additional reports within the last four months in which police responded to calls regarding the wild pack.
"In total we count at least 12 bite victims, and unconfirmed reports of others," police said.
After one incident in December 2019, the dogs were removed by animal control, but were later returned to their owner, who has been "issued multiple summonses in relation to these prior incidents," authorities said. Though the owner wasn't named in the Facebook post, the 26-year-old man allegedly regained custody of the animals after misleading a municipal court judge and claiming two of the animals were not his own, WPVI reports, citing police.
"The Little Egg Harbor Police Department will do everything in its power to ensure these dogs are never returned and allowed to menace this neighborhood in the future," police said. "This is an active investigation, and we will keep the community apprised of its resolution."
The dogs' owner faces one count of a dog declared potentially dangerous, three counts of dogs at large and three counts of failure to obtain a dog license, police said, according to WPVI.
The dogs are currently in custody at the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter. Their fate will not be determined until a municipal court hearing scheduled for next month.
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