Monday, April 7, 2014 | 2:18 p.m.
SPARKS — Two pit bulls that broke through a fence, entered a neighbor's house through a dog door and killed three pets while the homeowners were gone were to be destroyed Monday, a northern Nevada official said.
The owner signed the pit bulls over for euthanasia Saturday, a day after his neighbors returned to find their black Labrador retriever, Shih Tzu and Pekingese dead in their home, said Barry Brode, Washoe County Animal Services director.
Authorities said the canine intruders entered a Spanish Springs home through a dog door, a small portal in a wall or door that allows pets to enter and exit a house on their own.
The owners of the mauled pets are devastated, Brode said.
"It has affected the entire neighborhood," he said. "They are devastated and heartbroken."
Incidents of animals — domestic or wild — entering homes through dog doors are not uncommon.
A woman in Gig Harbor, Wash., was seriously mauled in 2007 when two pit bulls broke into her house through a pet door and attacked her in bed. The disabled woman managed to grab a gun to try to shoot the dogs, then broke away from the attack and locked herself in her car. The dogs also attacked the woman's service dog and killed a neighbor's Jack Russell terrier.
On 2012, a Texas family twice found a neighbor's dog in their home after it came in through a dog door. The couple's 11-year-old dachshund was attacked and required expensive veterinary care.
Brode said it's not just dogs that have wandered into homes through pet doors. He's heard reports coyotes, raccoons and skunks getting inside.
He suggested people keep pet doors secured when they are not home, or consider doors that open only when a pet wearing a special transmitter approaches.