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Dogs attack 4-year-old girl and her father in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Two dogs attacked their owner and bit his 4-year-old daughter in the face Thursday night, authorities said.

John Faucette, 37, was in his living room around 8 p.m. when he heard the girl scream. She had been running around the house and playing with the dogs, both Labrador retriever and pit bull mixes, St. Petersburg police said.

Faucette told police he ran into the bedroom and found his daughter bleeding from the face. When he grabbed her, the dogs attacked him.

He kicked and punched the dogs, escaping into the bathroom with the girl. Faucette later used a toy easel to fend off the dogs so that he, his wife and his daughter could flee the house.

The girl was taken to All Children's Hospital and treated for cuts to her face, police said. The dogs were euthanized Friday.

It's hard to know what set the pets off, said John Hohenstern, senior animal control officer for Pinellas County.

"Yesterday, after years of being nice dogs, something happened with the two dogs, and they just went into attack mode," he said.

The two dogs were a 70-pound male and 60-pound female, Hohenstern said.

When officers arrived at the home at 3028 Yale St. N on Thursday night, the dogs were growling and barking, trying to push through a door.

An animal control officer caught the dogs, but they remained aggressive Friday morning when workers tried to feed them and give them water, Hohenstern said.

Faucette told authorities that he had owned the dogs since they were puppies, and they had never been aggressive.