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13 Pit Bulls Euthanized Days After Owner Was Fatally Bitten in Backyard Kennel

A friend disputed Los Angeles County officials' statement saying the owner was “attacked and mauled”

<p>Go Fund Me</p> Dominic Cooper

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Dominic Cooper

Los Angeles County officials reportedly euthanized 13 dogs this week, including at least eight puppies, after finding them responsible for a father’s death last Friday.

Officials alleged the dogs had “attacked and mauled” the man - later identified as Dominic Cooper, a 35-year-old father of three - while he was trying to break up an altercation between two of the dogs while feeding them in his backyard in Compton.

However, Glenda Ford, a longtime friend of Cooper's, told Fox 11 that Cooper wasn’t “mauled.” Rather, she said, he was bitten by one of the dogs directly on an artery on his leg, causing him to bleed to death inside the backyard kennel where he kept the animals.

The dogs were placed in custody of the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control following Cooper’s death.

Related: California Man Found Dead in Backyard Kennel After Being 'Attacked' by His Own Pit Bulls: Police

“We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the facts and ensure the safety and well-being of both the community and the animals involved,” the department’s director Marcia Mayeda had said in a statement to multiple media organizations last weekend.

A spokesperson with the Los Angeles County Animal Care confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE that the 13 dogs, including at least eight puppies, were then euthanized via injection "due to evidence linking them to the attack."

"Given the potential threat they posed to the community, this action was deemed necessary," the spokesperson said. The department did not respond to PEOPLE’s questions about what specific evidence led to the decision, or whether there were alternatives to euthanasia considered.

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Ford alleged to Fox 11 that Cooper had been breeding and selling the animals to make money, a practice critics have long argued can lead to dogs having health and behavioral issues and can also lead to overpopulation.

Cooper had kept the dogs in several kennels located in his backyard, where his body was discovered early Friday morning, according to reports by CBS News, KTLA and The Los Angeles Times.

Cooper’s parents have launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money for his three daughters.

"We are setting up a trust for the daughters of our son who was killed in a tragic accident," the family said, adding that any donation will go directly to helping Cooper's daughters.

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