Darrell Yarbrough won't soon forget being thrown to the ground and mauled by three pit bulls earlier this week.
"I'm a dog lover," Yarbrough said. "But right now, man, I'll probably be terrified [of dogs] ... for a while."
Yarbrough, a contracted dietary cook delivering food to a Millcreek-area mental health facility, was attacked by the dogs Tuesday afternoon -- but he wasn't the only one.
A police officer and a Salt Lake County Animal Control officer were attacked and bitten while trying to capture the animals.
Two male dogs were shot by police officers and killed at the scene, according to Unified Police Det. Shane Manwaring. The third dog, a female, was captured and later euthanized. The extent of the officers' injuries was not provided.
Yarbrough, of West Valley City, said he was about to take a cart of food into the Valley Mental Health facility at 3944 S. 400 East, when he saw the dogs running around, but didn't think anything of it. He opened the trunk of his car to get the food, and that is when "the dogs came out of nowhere."
A mature male pit bull attacked him first, followed by the two 6-month-old dogs. Before he knew it, all three dogs were mauling him. Yarbrough was pulled to the ground and fought to stand back up, but was pulled down again.
"He grabbed me by the arm and ripped me open pretty good," Yarbrough said, adding that he required surgery for bite wounds that went to the bone in his left forearm, ripped a hole in his right hand and tore open a finger. He estimates he will be recovering at home for the next month.
"What they say about a pit bull's bite, brother -- they ain't lying," Yarbrough said.
He feels he was lucky to have escaped with his life, noting that one dog made a lunge at his neck, which he blocked with his hand.
"I eventually got away because I was fighting for my life," Yarbrough said, adding he was in panic mode. "You want to survive."
Yarbrough got inside the Valley Mental Health building with the help of two nurses, who threw trash and aluminum cans at the dogs to distract them. The nurses also attended to his wounds until an ambulance arrived.
Salt Lake County Animal Services Associate Director April Harris said the female dog was in heat and that the two males may have been acting aggressively to protect her.
"Had [the dogs] been spayed and neutered, the outcome may have been different," Harris said.
The owner came to the shelter looking for her lost dogs and agreed to the remaining dog being euthanized.
Harris said the owner -- who was "shocked" that her dogs had attacked someone -- had just moved to a home in South Salt Lake, where a window was left open through which the dogs escaped.
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Three pit bulls killed after man, two officers attacked
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