RANCHO MIRAGE – Funeral services were pending today for a 38-year-old Rancho Mirage man killed by his two large dogs.
Hill Andrew Williams was found Monday afternoon at the rear of a home at 41625 Morningside Court. An autopsy revealed he died of “significant physical trauma” suffered in the attack, said sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez.
The dogs, a 3-year-old male named Butter and a 2-year-old female named Ebony, were put to death Tuesday morning, according to Animal Services of Riverside County. An Animal Services behaviorist said each animal was some sort of bull mastiff mix.
Williams’ neighbors called the Rancho Mirage Police Department, which is staffed by sheriff’s deputies, at 5:13 a.m. Monday and reported he was bleeding profusely in his backyard, Gutierrez said. Responding deputies found the body and the two dogs, he said.
Animal control officers could not immediately enter the backyard because the dogs were so aggressive, particularly Butter, said Animal Control Officer James Huffman.
“The male was obviously protecting the female,” he said.
He said both dogs had blood on them, and the victim had suffered injuries that “were all consistent with a dog attack.”
“This severe of an attack we don’t see very often,” Huffman said.
The dogs — bull mastiffs belong to a breed generally known for being wary of strangers but fiercely protective of their owners — were finally seized around 9:30 p.m. Monday and taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms. Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said Williams’ girlfriend gave authorization to put them down Welsh said animal control officers were told the victim may have been trying to breed the dogs.
Animal Services Capt. Betsy Ritchie said the dogs were not spayed or neutered and did not appear to be licensed.
“When animals are not spayed or neutered, they can be more aggressive,” Ritchie said. “There is more testosterone in their body.”
Animal Services Behaviorist Jackie Schart said it is believed the female was “in heat.”
“An intact male would definitely be more territorial when it comes to protecting an intact female that he thinks that is his,” Schart said. She said each dog was some sort of bull mastiff-mix.