Anaheim Man Killed by Pit Bulls in High Desert

Times Staff Writers

An Anaheim man staying at a desert compound in San Bernardino County was mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls last week, and authorities are trying to determine whether the owner of the dogs was criminally negligent.

Shaun McCafferty, 27, was attacked by as many as eight pit bulls on the night of June 7, suffering extensive bite wounds and a crushed airway, according to a San Bernardino County coroner’s spokesman and sheriff’s officials.

McCafferty’s girlfriend, Lacy Gidney, told investigators that she had found him lying wounded on their driveway in Phelan, then ran screaming from the scene to her residence in the compound after the dogs attacked her.


McCafferty was declared dead at the scene of the mauling in the 4500 block of Sandstone Drive, and eight pit bulls found on the 10-acre property were taken into custody by San Bernardino County Animal Control officials.

Deputies, brought to the scene the night of the attack by an anonymous call, found McCafferty’s body, but Gidney did not call authorities until the next day to report the mauling.

She was also wounded by the dogs, and deputies advised her to seek medical treatment.

“I’d assume the dogs are going to be destroyed,” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Bell said Tuesday.

The dogs’ owner, Pam McKee, 52, was arrested Friday on suspicion of being under the influence of methamphetamine, and at least two men on the property also were arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine.

Bell said detectives investigating the dog attack initially believed there may have been illicit drug activity on the property, which was littered with 50 junked cars and other refuse.

“About eight people live up there in little encampments -- trailers, tents, sheds with no utilities,” Bell said.


No witnesses to the attack have come forward, authorities said.

Authorities weren’t certain how McCafferty was killed until his girlfriend, Gidney, telephoned Phelan deputies Thursday morning.

Bell said it would probably take two weeks for investigators to determine whether additional charges would be filed against McKee.

Investigators will be asking other residents on the property about their observations of the dogs’ recent behavior, and how McKee handled the animals.

Bell said a forensic scientist collected DNA evidence from each of the bite marks on McCafferty, and sheriff’s officials may be able to establish which of the dogs participated in the attack.

“We’ve got the right dogs,” Bell said. “Whether every dog was involved, or if it was just two, I don’t know how precise or in-depth the department wants to get.”