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Baltimore Police working to find owner of stray pit bulls that killed woman, injured two others

Vicious deadly dog attack in West Baltimore remains under investigation
Vicious deadly dog attack in West Baltimore remains under investigation 02:35

BALTIMORE – A vicious dog attack that killed a 54-year-old woman on Friday in West Baltimore is still being investigated. 

Shelia Jones died after she was mauled by two stray pit bulls, police said.

Now, officers are working to learn what led to the attack and who the dogs belong to.

What happened

Police say the two stray pit bulls were roaming North Pulaski Street when around 9 p.m. they attacked three people, including Jones, who died at the scene.

When officers arrived, officers found a 67-year-old woman with a bite wound on her arm, police said. A 42-year-old man was treated with bite injuries to his arm, leg and face.

Their injuries were treated and they were released from the hospital.

"As officers began to clear the area for anybody walking around for their safety, the dogs returned and started to attack another victim. That victim received bite injuries to his arm and his leg and to his face," Det. Vernon Davis told WJZ.

After the dogs returned, police found Jones in the rear alley off Pulaski Street. 

To capture the dogs, there was a city-wide call for additional gear as officers waited for animal control and the police helicopter that was tracking them from above.

Police say two officers fired their weapons – striking one of the dogs, who was later euthanized. The other dog remains in animal control custody.

Dog owners sought

Police are still searching for the owner(s) of these dogs, who were not wearing tags at the time they were captured.

If an incident like this plays out again, police encourage residents to get to a safe place and call 9-1-1 for police or 3-1-1 for animal control.

"If you are in the backyard and you see any dogs that are loose, please get to safety quickly and then call us, call 311 so we can assist," Davis said.

Residents remain concerned

More questions than answers remain for neighbors who believe these dogs have an owner. 

They are also concerned because there are dozens of pit bulls in the area, and they want neighbors to remain aware of their surroundings.

"I'd say we've got at least 30 pit bulls in this area, but they all belong to somebody. No such thing as a stray pit bull in the Western District," said Marvin Cheatham, President of the Matthew Henson Neighborhood Association.

Neighbors, though, remain concerned and vigilant, saying they want to know what these dogs looked like to track down, not only a potential owner but also other dogs related to these dogs. They are worried there are more aggressive dogs living on their block.

"I've been here 73 years, it's not like the police don't know who I am," Cheatham said. "All we are asking for is, to give us some information so we can let the neighbors know what these dogs look like because then we can probably pinpoint who owns them."

Animal control responds

Baltimore City Animal Control said in a statement the department is participating fully with Baltimore Police on this investigation. 

"Our Animal Enforcement Officers play a crucial role to ensure public safety and animal welfare," Baltimore City Animal Control said. "When our Animal Enforcement Officers arrived at the scene, they immediately took action to ensure public safety and to remove the dogs from the back of the home to prevent further harm.It's important for our community to know and understand that if bitten by a dog, they should seek immediate safety and move away from the dog to a safe place to prevent further attacks."

"Thereafter, they should seek medical attention, even if the bite seems minor. It's crucial to consult a healthcare professional, to assess the risk of rabies or other infections. While this is still an active investigation, our priority remains the safety and well-being of our community. We urge all residents to remain vigilant and report any concerns regarding aggressive animals to 3-1-1 as soon as possible to the Baltimore City Health Department's Animal Control division. If someone sees an animal attack in progress, they should call 9-1-1." 

Active investigation

Police have not named the owner of the dog or indicated if any criminal charges will be filed. Baltimore Police says the investigation is active and ongoing.

The State's Attorney's Office is also involved in the investigation and would issue any charges if they are necessary.

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