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Bicyclist mauled by pack of dogs in Central Valley

July 6, 2012 |  9:52 am

A 49-year-old man in the Central Valley town of Delhi was severely injured when he was mauled by a pack of six dogs as he was riding his bicycle, police said.

This followed an attack of another cyclist by the same pack of dogs. That man suffered an ankle injury.

Merced County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Scott Dover said the man in the most recent incident was pulled from his bike by a Labrador retriever and five pit bulls or pit bull mixes. The victim reportedly needed dozens of stitches, Fox40 Sacramento reported.

Dog behavior experts say it's better to confront an attacking dog than run from it. Running triggers a prey response, which is a hunting instinct. And if one dog in a pack attacks, it's more likely that the others will join in.

Some cyclists carry air horns or pepper spray as protection, but they will not guarantee safety, expert say. Folsom dog trainer and behaviorist Jason Davis recommends that a person feeling threatened place an object such as their bike between themselves and the animal or animals. He said the worst response is to try to run.

The dogs in the Delhi pack have been captured by Merced County Animal Control and their owners identified. They apparently come from three different households.

Investigators say the owners will be responsible for the damage their dogs caused and the district attorney will determine whether charges will be filed.

Dover said neighbors told investigators that the dogs have been a problem.

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-- Lonnie Wong, Fox40 Sacramento

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