A dog out for a walk with its owner was mauled to death Saturday morning in Palo Alto by three pit bulls. All the dogs were on leashes. The dog that was killed was a Maltese, a small breed.
The incident happened at 9:46 a.m. at Middlefield Road and Colorado Avenue.
One witness, who had notified authorities, said he saw the dogs and owners approaching each other. He then heard the noise of the attack and a woman screaming frantically. He said he initially thought the woman was being attacked instead of her dog.
The identities of the dog owners, both believed to be Palo Alto residents, were witheld pending completion of the investigation.
The three pit bulls are in custody, according to Sandi Stadler, superintendent of the Animal Services Division of the Palo Alto Police Department.
"It's awful -- it happened so fast," Stadler said of the attack. She said the person walking the pit bulls apparently was unable to restrain the dogs when they attacked the Maltese.
She said there is "a strong possibility" that the city will hold a dangerous dog hearing once the investigation is complete.