Seven dogs believed to be responsible for a deadly attack on a woman in south Modesto last week have been taken off the streets.
On Saturday, animal control officers with Stanislaus Animal Services Agency partnered with Modesto Animal Control to search for the dogs that killed 56-year-old Deborah Onsurez last week.
Onsurez was found dead "with severe injuries to her body" in the driveway of a business in the 500 block of Crows Landing Road, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
Using photos of the dogs taken by surveillance cameras on nearby businesses, animal control officers located five of them on Saturday in the same area the attack occurred.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Modesto Bee
One dog was found dead on the side of the road and another had been injured, both believed to have been hit by cars, said Stanislaus Animal Services Agency Executive Director Annette Patton.
The injured dog was immediately euthanized. The other three were brought back to the shelter to be placed on a 72-hour hold. They were joined by two other dogs that were part of the pack and captured in traps on Sunday and Monday.
"They are not adoptable; when the time comes all will be euthanized," Patton said. "The 72-hour hold is for an owner to come forward ... no one will reclaim these dogs."
She said, "In the area of Crows Landing Road there are a lot of stray dogs. It is an ongoing battle for us and the community out there. We can easily round up 30 stray dogs ... in a half day."
It’s clear the pack had been strays for some time, said animal control supervisor Connie Hooker. In their kennels on Tuesday, most cowered in the corner.
Hooker said when confronted by animal control officers on the streets these types of dogs will most often run and hide but will become aggressive when they feel trapped.
"With pack mentality there is always an alpha dog and they are always feeding off of one another," Hooker said. "If one dog is aggressive and they are the leader (the others) are going to follow suit. So say if something happened where they feel like they have an advantage, they will ... continue on that pursuit until they are done."
Neither she nor Sheriff's officials know what prompted the dogs to attack Onsurez. The dogs were captured on surveillance cameras after the attack, but not the attack itself.
A pathologist confirmed the woman died as a result of the attack, said Sheriff's Sgt. Anthony Bejaran.
Osurez could have encountered the alpha dog and it became aggressive, she could have fallen or she might have had food, Hooker offered as some potential scenarios.
The captured dogs were of different mixed breeds, including Doberman, German Shepherd, Queensland Heeler, Labrador and pit bull.
"Anything that is bigger than 25 pounds can do you damage so you can’t nail it on any particular breed," Hooker said.
Also captured along with the pack of dogs were six puppies believed to belong to one of the impounded dogs. They were found in the same area at a pallet company.
While the impounded dogs will be euthanized, the puppies are "happy, fat, cute little guys" that will be available for adoption on Friday. The puppies appear to be German Shepard mixes, although one looks more like a pit bull. There are three males and three females.