YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Police said a man was severely injured early Monday morning after he was mauled by five dogs on the North Side.
The man was mauled at about 5:30 a.m. near a vacant lot in the 2200 block of Logan Avenue.
He was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center where he was last listed in critical condition.
The dogs swarmed the man and dragged him several feet before police arrived. Even after police arrived, the dogs came back again and tried to attack the man. There were blood spots on the street, sidewalk and grass.
An officer at the scene said it was one of the most gruesome things he’s seen in over 20 years.
Police said the dogs came from a house across the street from the vacant lot where the man was mauled. Police said the dogs chewed a hole in the fence around the yard to get out.
The owner of the dogs, Clarence Thigpen, said he was shocked when police told him his dogs mauled the man. He said he heard about the attack from one of his neighbors and came to the scene and brought the dogs inside.
“When he showed me the video, I was like, ‘My dogs.’ He’s like, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘We had to shoot the one to get him off of him,'” Thigpen said.
Police shot two of the dogs, but one dog still ran away and is lost. Police tried pepper spray before firing a shot.
Someone heard the screams during the attack and called police. Their body cameras were rolling on the scene.
“It is truly not to be believed. It’s actually horrific,” said Youngstown police Capt. Jason Simon. “What this victim had to endure, getting mauled by those dogs.”
The man is in his 30s and has serious wounds on his neck and legs.
The house where the dogs were has no utilities. Police said Thigpen told them that he keeps the dogs there to guard scrap in the yard. He was charged with five counts of having vicious dogs.
All of the dogs have been removed from the house.
Investigators say they’re familiar with Thigpen.
“Issues have arisen from dogs, the house itself, the fencing, and the inadequacies with taking care of all of those,” Capt. Simon said.
Municipal court records show that in October 2020 Thigpen pleaded guilty to two minor misdemeanors, dogs running at large and vaccination of dogs, cats and ferrets. He was fined $25 on each charge and also had to pay $70 in court records.
Court records also show two open quality-of-life cases against him that were filed in August 2020.
Thigpen said the complaints come from one person who drives by and sees the dogs and doesn’t like them. He feels he follows the law.
“License, shots, housing, fed good,” he said.
Police say more charges could be pending.
Gerry Ricciutti contributed to this report.