What happened? It depends on which account you read. One reports that two of the dogs got into a fight and redirected when the owner attempted to intervene. Another states that all five dogs immediately began fighting inside the car when the owner's dad approached to provide gasoline for his son's car - one slipped out and attacked the dad and owner. And another one states that the dogs all got out of the vehicle, began fighting, then ate everybody in sight.
How severely the dogs bit is in question too. All three who intervened in the dog fight were bitten...guess where? On their arms. You know, that appendage most likely to be used in breaking up a dog fight. The dogs were not so hyped up that they couldn't be calmed down and corralled - all five were safely handed over to authorities.
If you see some of the pictures, you'll notice the dogs aren't in prime shape. They are a little underweight, one looks fearful, and one looks relatively comfortable/friendly. It's my understanding that the owner was having some financial woes and in lieu of getting rid of his dogs, he was living with them in a car.
His dogs, by the way, are all licensed. They all have their rabies vaccinations. Their owner is not a criminal. Friends and family describe the dogs as friendly, treated with love and compassion by their devoted owner. I think this opinion piece is a worthy read.
We have, in my view, an obvious (and sad) case of easily aroused, under-exercised dogs getting excited, redirecting and biting when humans interfered in a fight. Add the fact they were in a confined space with no escape and you have a serious problem. We don't have dogs who went on a mauling spree - five dogs on a mauling spree would probably put a person in traction rather than a short stay at the hospital emergency room. That isn't to call the injuries a nip - the dogs may have shown some restraint but they bit hard enough to cause puncture wounds.
The worst part of this case, to me, are the comments on the articles which mostly suggest shooting or poisoning the dogs or possibly getting rid of all pit bull type dogs in the universe. These dogs did nothing wrong. They are as much victims as the ones they bit, even more so because they were supposed to be protected by their owner. No matter how much I empathize with the owner's situation, he wasn't being responsible. He put those dogs in a situation in which failure was a guarantee, not just a mere possibility. Which sucks, because he didn't do it out of malice or cruelty, he did it because he loved his dogs and didn't want to see them get killed. I'm certain he never imagined this would happen AND that it would become state news.
I can only hope his friends and family will rally around him and, yes, his dogs. That they will help bail the dogs out and find better living conditions for him and his dogs. I hope that a behaviorist or trainer or qualified rescue can analyze the dogs behavior and figure out which dogs would work best together and which dogs should be considered for placement elsewhere. These dogs and their owner deserve a lot better. I really do wish them all the best of luck.