A dog owner from Irving, Texas, was mauled to death by her two pet pit bull terriers, which were quarantined at a veterinary clinic for a “recent biting” incident.

Johana Villafane, 33, was fatally bitten by the pair of canines when she went to the clinic to feed them, Saturday. She was in an exercise area of the facility when the dogs started attacking her at 11:45 a.m. CDT (12:45 p.m. EDT).

“Officers were dispatched to assist the Irving fire Department who had been summoned to a veterinary clinic on reports of a woman in need of medical attention. Staff reported that a dog owner had been attacked by her two pit bull terriers and appeared to be seriously injured,” a press release from the police department stated.

The release added that the clinic staff as well as medical personnel tried to save the victim but were unable to reach Villafane as the dogs aggressively kept them from coming closer. “They were unable to retrieve her to give her any medical attention because of the animals,” Irving police officer David Dickinson told WFAA.

As the pit bulls continued their aggressive behavior, one of the officers was forced to fatally shoot the dogs. “I don’t believe that [the officer who shot the dogs] had a choice,” Dickinson said. “His job is to intervene to safeguard human life, and that’s what he attempted to do.”

Villafane was rushed to Parkland Hospital and was pronounced dead later in the day due to her severe head injuries. A detective and the department’s Animal Services Division staff were sent to the clinic to investigate the incident.

Grant Dickey, one of the victim’s neighbors, said the dogs were friendly but behaved in a rough manner at times. One of the dogs broke through his fence during a previous incident when the animals had bitten someone. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they had mistaken Dickey to be the owner of the dogs.

“…they [the officers] saw the pit bulls going in and out of the hole that they made in my back fence and asked me if they were my dogs,” Grant Dickey said. “I said ‘no, it’s the neighbor’s dogs… they broke through into my yard earlier’ and they said ‘well they bit somebody when they got out. They [the dogs] had always seemed friendly but aggressively friendly if you will. Jumping on you… and they were pretty sizable dogs,” he told CBS Local. 

Another neighbor, Rick Warner, said: “It’s just unbelievable. It doesn’t matter the breed when that happens, if an animal gets that kind of reactive, they call it the ‘red zone’ and nothing is going to take it off except for extreme force.”

He recalled seeing an Animal Services vehicle at Villafane’s house recently. “[The vehicle was] marked ‘Animal Services,’ lights were flashing the entire time it was down there. We didn’t know why, we didn’t ask why, we didn’t go down to find out why,” he said.