DETROIT — A pair of dogs attacked and mauled to death a man as he jogged down a quiet, dirt road in rural Michigan.
Craig Sytsma, 46, of Livonia died of his injuries Wednesday night at a local hospital, police in Metamora Township said.
"He was jogging, doing what everybody else does out there, running and riding bikes," said Metamora police Officer Sean Leathers, who was one of the first on the scene. Sytsma, a divorced father of three, was unconscious and undergoing CPR when Leathers arrived.
Sytsma worked in nearby Oxford and had apparently decided to go for a jog after leaving work.
The dogs were apparently running free on the road where the attack took place. Neighbors fired shots into the air to try to scare the dogs off the jogger.
Afterward, the dogs retreated to their owner's home.
The dogs are cane corsos, an Italian mastiff-type breed that the American Kennel Club says were property watchdogs that hunted wild boar in their native country. Their name derives from the Latin "cohors," meaning guardian or protector, according to information on the club's Website.
The dogs, which are younger than 5-years-old, are currently quarantined at the Lapeer County Animal Shelter while the investigation continues. Lapeer sheriff's Detective Jason Parks said the dogs were brought in by their owner. Authorities will seek to have the dogs destroyed if the owner relinquishes his rights to them or they will take the matter to court if he fights to keep them.
No decision has been made on criminal charges, but the Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office is involved and the owner has retained an attorney.
Given the nature of the attack, Parks said, it would be in the public's best interest to destroy the dogs.
Parks described the dogs as black and brindle in color, well-muscled and aggressive. Cane corsos typically weigh 90-110 pounds, Parks said, noting that the dogs involved in the attack appear to be of average weight for the breed.
"They definitely react when people are inside the room. … They're aggressive dogs," Parks said.
Parks said authorities have not been able find anyone who recalls another fatal attack on a human by an animal in Lapeer County in at least 50 years.
"It's something that is out of the norm, and it's something you'd hope would never happen," Parks said.