SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A San Jose woman is recovering after being mauled in a vicious attack by three pit bulls while she was out jogging on Thursday.

“It was just like a swarm onto me,” said Julie Mitrovich, who was attack by the pit bulls on Saturday near the parking lot of George Shirakawa Sr. Elementary
School near Coyote Creek and Wool Creek Drive.

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Mitrovich said she tried to jog around an apparently homeless woman who was playing ball with her three loose pit bulls, when the dogs went after her.

“I think I was probably bit by the first dog, and she was holding him back but his face was right here,” Mitrovich said. “One dog was barking and the other one just kept biting.”

She suffered numerous deep bites on her legs, arm and hand. But she stayed on her feet and was able to back away, bleading heavily. Five days later, bloody paw prints could still be seen on the sidewalk where it happened.

Some nearby gardeners called 911, and Mitrovich went to the hospital. Police and animal control officers also responded.

“They patrolled the area but were unable to locate the owner or the dogs,” said Capt. Mallory Kinsman of the San Jose Animal Services  Department.

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There are several large homeless encampments in the creek bed; one posted a warning to beware of dogs. Our KPIX 5 crew saw a man walking out of the creek with a suitcase and two unleashed dogs.

“A lot of these people that live down there, they use those pit bills to keep them safe. Keep them protected,” said Moses Quesada, a neighbor who works nearby. “A couple of times I drove by and the dogs came out and were chasing the car. They’re just there to protect the owners.”

It’s a dangerous situation that even animal control officers are wary of as they continue to search for the dogs and their owner.

“Right now, we’re patrolling the area, we’re not going down into the creek itself, but we are looking,” said Kinsman.

Mitrovich, who is being watched for infection and might have to undergo rabies treatment, says it never should have happened.

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“Dogs should be on leash. Especially if these are guard dogs,” she said. “These were pit bulls and large dogs, they needed to be secured.”