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SACRAMENTO, CA- Animal Control specialists say a man is lucky to be alive after being attacked by two exotic dogs, historically bred to kill.

The attack happened Friday evening near a park on Valley Hi Drive in Sacramento.

Police said a 21 year old man had finished lifting weights in his garage and stepped outside to cool off, whenhe was attacked by two large dogs, that each grabbed one of his arms and pulled him to the ground.

A driver noticed the dogs attacking the man and ran one of the dogs over. The victim was able to escape by jumping onto the hood of the car, which took off driving down the street.

Animal Control tranquilized both dogs and transported them to the city animal shelter. When animal specialists finally got a look at the dogs, they were shocked to find they were a breed nearly extinct a few years ago - Presa Canario.

"They were bred for fighting in Europe," said Sacramento Animal Shelter spokeswoman Gina Knepp. "They were used as entertainment, like Gladiators. People would pay to see the Presa Canarios fight."

The dogs' owner showed up at the animal shelter to pick up the dogs, not knowing about the attack.

"What happened was the dogs bit a hole through the gate," said the owner who only wanted to be identified as "Junior." "They're not violent."

Animal experts at the shelter, however, said Presa Canarios are exactly that - violent. It was two Presa Canarios that attacked and mauled to death a San Francisco woman back in January 2001.

"These dogs are very large and aggressive," said Knepp, who estimates the male at 120 lbs and the female at 80 lbs. The female dog is pregnant.

The shelter said both dogs will be euthanized.

"I don't fight dogs. I love them," said Junior, who said he's very sorry and sad to hear about what happened to the man who was attacked by his dogs. "They got out. They were socialized; they approach people. People can pet them. There's a certain way you have to approach them."

The dogs' - Mandella and Mona - he said were used to protect his home and business. The dogs had updated vaccinations, which means the victim will not have to receive rabies shots.

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