An 8-year-old was recovering Monday after suffering "significant wounds" and had "flesh ripped away" when three pit bulls attacked her in Santa Monica, authorities said.
Police responded to a call of a dog bite about 8 p.m. Sunday in the 1800 block of 21st Street. Moments before, the girl, her mother and a family cousin were visiting a neighbor close to the enclosed property, police said.
Once through the gate, one pit bull approached the girl and sniffed her. Seconds later, the pit bull was joined by two other dogs, who did the same.
"She got scared, shrieked and started to run. That's when the attack happened," said Jay Moroso, a sergeant with the Santa Monica Police Department. "The mom said it happened very quickly. She wasn't able to get a hold of her daughter."
The dog owner was able to separate the pit bulls from the girl, Moroso said. The dogs usually roam the enclosed yard, and the owner was unaware there were visitors on the property before the attack occurred, he said.
The attack left bite wounds on the left side of the girl's body from her shoulder down to her foot, police said in a news release. The girl's mother was bitten in the forearm.
KTLA-TV reported a 911 operator urged neighbors to apply pressure to the girl's "deep wounds." Neighbor Rosalind Spann told the TV station she heard a girl screaming "Mommy, Mommy!" before she heard the tone change to terror.
"I came out front, there was a little girl in a car... and she was bleeding from her feet, from her arms and from her back," Spann said.
The girl was taken to a hospital, where she received stitches before being released to her mother's care.
After the incident, the three dogs were taken by the Santa Monica Police Department's Animal Control Unit. They will be quarantined for 10 days as a precaution for rabies. As for the owner, an initial police investigation found no evidence of criminal conduct, the news released stated.
The attack comes nearly three weeks after two El Monte Police officers shot and killed a pit bull after bean bag pellets fired from a shotgun-like weapon failed to control the dog. Authorities said the pit bull hopped a fence before lunging at a woman walking her dog, leaving the smaller animal with cuts on its ear and head.