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UPS driver testifies about pit bull attack

During the hearing, UPS Driver Kevin Backlund looked at graphic photos of his mauled arms and legs. (Photo: KING)

A UPS driver who was mauled by a pack of pit bulls testified about the attack Thursday.

A Pierce County hearing examiner is trying to determine if the dogs are dangerous or, as the owner claims, if they were just protecting the property.

During the hearing, UPS Driver Kevin Backlund looked at graphic photos of his mauled arms and legs.

Unable to sit because of his injuries, the 59-year-old testified how he arrived at the east Pierce County property in September.

As UPS drivers are accustomed to doing, Backlund testified he honked his horn, rattled the fence and looked for any dangers.

"I'm looking for a dog bowl, dog dish, dog toys, anything that would indicate any hazard on the property," said Backlund.

Seeing nothing, he entered through the unlocked gate to deliver the package.

Seventy-five feet onto the property, four pit bulls surrounded him.

"They attacked all at once," he said. "Not one, and two and three, all four at once. "

"I was in a fight for my life."

Backlund retreated onto a flatbed trailer trying to escape the dogs.
He managed to call 911.

"Mr. Backlund was on top of this trailer covered in blood, he had a dog hanging off his leg," Lt. Steve Goodwin of Orting Valley Fire and Rescue testified.

Goodwin rescued Backlund by ramming the gate with his truck so Backlund could jump into the passenger side window.

Asked why he made that decision, Goodwin said, "He was getting pulled off the trailer. The dogs were attacking as a pack. If they got him on the ground, he was not going to survive."

The four dogs have been in county custody since the attack.

Animal Control officers found a small "Beware of Dog" sticker on a fence post partially hidden by bushes.

The dogs' owner didn't appear in court, but his attorney argued he warned the shipper of the quote "mean dogs" on his property.

In a recorded phone call to the county, the owner said, "I feel bad for the guy, but you know the sad part about it, those dogs were doing their job. We have $3 million worth of equipment in that lot and those dogs were doing their job."

If the hearing examiner Mike McCarthy deems the dogs to be dangerous, the owner will have to pay for a dangerous dog license plus insurance, and the dogs will have to be muzzled and kenneled on the property.

A prosecutor still has to determine if the owner will face criminal charges.

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