A man whose four pit bulls mauled a UPS driver in the Puyallup, Washington, area says his dogs were just doing their job protecting the property.
The attack nearly killed Kevin Backlund, 59, who suffered 36 wounds that required more than 133 stitches.
A hearing examiner is tasked with deciding whether the dogs – Laurenitis, L.J., Zero and Lexi – should be considered dangerous.
The fate of the pit bulls, for now, hinges on whether the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office files criminal charges against the owner.
During testimony Thursday, officials played a recorded message from the owner: “I feel bad for the guy, but you know the sad part about it, those dogs were doing their job. We have $3 million worth of equipment in that lot and those dogs were doing their job.”
Backlund was delivering a package to the gated lot Sept. 13 when he said he honked his horn, shook the gate and checked for any danger before entering the property.
He did not see a small “Beware of dogs” sticker on the fence that was obscured by bushes.
When Backlund was inside the gate, four pit bulls approached and surrounded him, records show.
“They attacked all at one. Not one, and two and three, all four at once,” he testified, according to KING 5. “I was in a fight for my life.”
Backlund was able to get onto a flatbed trailer and call 911.
Orting Valley Fire Chief Dave Goodwin was the first to respond.
He said a woman (who could not be located after the incident) refused to open the gate or bring the dogs under control. She accused them of trespassing and threatened to call police.
After seeing Backlund being attacked, Goodwin wrote in a report that he decided to drive a department SUV through the chain link fence and pull alongside Backlund, who crawled through the open passenger window while kicking a dog off with his other leg.
“If they got him on the ground, I did not think he was going to survive,” Goodwin testified at the hearing.
Backlund was emotional during his testimony and his injuries prevented him from sitting in a chair.
“My wife coming in, falling to her knees, crying,” he said, according to KIRO 7.
Backlund declined to say what he thought should happen to the pit bulls, but his attorney has said he leans toward euthanizing them.
The hearing examiner is expected to make a ruling on whether the dogs are dangerous within 10 days.
The pit bulls are being kept at Tacoma-Pierce County Humane Society.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653