The man found dead on Valentine's Day after a passing driver saw two dogs attacking his body was identified Tuesday as the dogs' owner, Pedro Tepale, 51, of Calpella, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff-Coroner's Office.
Tepale lived with the two dogs, a Rottweiler and a white pitbull, lived with the dogs in a home at the edge of a trailer park about 200 feet away from where his body was found.
A Tuesday autopsy yielded no preliminary results on the cause of his Tepale's death, but authorities don't believe the dogs' attack killed him, according to MCSO spokesman Greg Van Patten. He said the Sheriff-Coroner's Office expects to know more in four to six weeks, when it gets the results of blood-alcohol and toxicology testing.
Authorities found Tepale's lifeless body with several dog bites and "evidence of animal activity" after a passer-by called the Sheriff's Office dispatch center at 10:41 a.m. Feb. 14 and reported seeing a man lying in the ground in a clearing beside the road in the 5000 block of North State Street, and two dogs attacking his body, according to the MCSO.
Sheriff's Animal Control officer Torsten Werner responded and saw a Rottweiler and a pitbull standing over the man's body. He yelled to get the dogs' attention and the Rottweiler charged aggressively at him. Werner reportedly shot at the dog twice and hit the Rottweiler at least once, killing the animal, according to the MCSO.
The other dog, described as a white pitbull, ran from the area and was not found after "an exhaustive search of the area," according to the MCSO. An unknown person brought the dog to the Mendocino County Animal Care shelter later the same day, according to the MCSO.
Van Patten said it isn't known what Tepale was doing in the clearing near his home before the incident. He was seen at his home the previous evening, Van Patten said, adding that someone may have lived there with Tepale, but reportedly wasn't with him the last time he was seen alive.
Tiffany Revelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @TiffanyRevelle or at 468-3523.