Loose dogs attack 3 in Gwinnett, leave man mangled ‘from head to toe’

Two dogs got loose from their owner’s home and attacked three people in Lawrenceville on Monday, leaving one man with serious injuries “from head to toe,” a witness said.

The incident led to the dog owner being cited by Gwinnett County Animal Welfare officers and the dogs being euthanized. Rabies tests for the dogs came back negative, a Gwinnett County spokeswoman said.

Lina Sambataro-Christian was driving down Five Forks Trickum Road toward Sugarloaf Parkway on Monday when she saw two large dogs running toward an elderly man, who was crossing the street. The dogs jumped on the man and immediately started attacking him, Sambataro-Christian said.

Sambataro-Christian pulled her car over and ran toward the man. She grabbed a shoe, which had fallen off the man’s foot, and began beating one of the dogs in the snout.

“I had always been told, ‘If a dog ever attacks you, hit them in the nose,’” she said.

Other drivers soon saw the dog attack and stopped to help. One came out of his car wielding a baseball bat and began beating the dog that Sambataro-Christian was not already hitting with the shoe.

After “about a minute,” Sambataro-Christian and the driver with the bat were able to pull the dogs off the man. He was severely injured, with bite wounds on his face, chest, back, arms and legs, Sambataro-Christian said.

Sambataro-Christian was not injured, but another driver was, said Gwinnett County spokeswoman Heather Sawyer.

The dogs ran off and attacked a third person before returning to their owner’s backyard, Sawyer said. Gwinnett animal welfare officers and Gwinnett police officers found the dogs at the house, and the owner was issued six citations, Sawyer said.

The owner voluntarily surrendered the dogs, who were euthanized and are being tested for rabies by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

The dogs appeared to weigh about 75 lbs. and looked like Mastiffs, Sambataro-Christian said. Neither had collars nor tags to indicate who they belonged to or whether they had been vaccinated for rabies, she said.

“If people would take care of their dogs, we would solve these problems a lot more quickly,” Sambataro-Christian said. “If they had collars, we would have been able to pull them off more easily instead of beating them.”

The condition of the man attacked on Five Forks Trickum Road was not immediately available Tuesday.

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