An 81-year-old man has been mauled to death in a dog attack so horrific, firefighters were forced to use axes to keep the animals away.
The man had been visiting a relative nearby with a woman – believed to be his wife – when two American staffies broke through the gate of a neighbouring home and launched at the couple.
Horrifying footage from the scene shows three emergency responders using axes and poles to keep the dogs away from the body of the elderly man, who lies behind a rubbish bin on the nature strip.
One of the dogs is white, and has red blood staining the fur around its mouth and paws.
The other dark-coloured dog repeatedly attempts to approach the victim, forcing officers to swing the axe at it.
A woman, believed to be the owner, eventually arrives at the house with police telling her to “get them (the dogs) away from us”.
“He’s already bit me and possibly killed another person,” the officer says.
The victim’s wife was also injured in the attack, along with two others, including one of the firefighters.
San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood told local news station KSAT12 that the incident was traumatic for his team.
"This is not something normal for us. We usually don't show up and have to defend patients from animals or ourselves," he said.
"Horrific scene, horrific for the people who experienced it and horrific for our firefighters that were part of this."
Neighbours told local news station KSAT12 they had been fearful of the dogs for “a very long time”. The animals had reportedly attacked people in the past, including a boy whose mother is furious it took a death to have the dogs removed.
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