Newport Beach Police Sgt. Todd Hughes said the area was searched until the Pit Bulls were found, but when an officer located them on Newport Coast Drive and attempted to exit his car, the dogs advanced toward him aggressively so he retreated back into the vehicle.
At that time, the Pit Bulls attacked the police car and he called for assistance. Additional officers and the Newport Beach Police Department’s Animal Control unit responded to the location.
"The officers intended to try and safely corral and capture the animals," a police statement said, "[but] responding officers were unable to exit their vehicles due to the aggressive behavior of the dogs."
No officers were injured in the incident, but the three dogs were shot and killed in the interest of public safety,” police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe told NBC News.
Sgt. Hughes said, "Officers were not only concerned for their own safety, but more importantly, this location is frequented by joggers, cyclists, golfers and many others."
The attack was unusual for this upscale tourist area. Sgt. Hughes said that the police had not been notified of any feral dog packs or bites by stray dogs.
The dogs had no tags and complete scans did not indicate any microchips. Necropsies will be conducted to assure they did not have rabies.
Newport Beach police are trying to identify the dogs' owners and asking anyone with information to come forward. "We are not aware of a wild dog problem," he told reporters. "We have no idea who owned them or where they came from."