Westwego — A Westwego woman was nearly killed Wednesday afternoon when three dogs in her home mauled her. Police shot the dogs.

The incident was reported around 3 p.m. in the 300 block of Avenue A, according to Police Chief Dwayne Munch Sr.

Police were called to the neighborhood because neighbors reported hearing a woman’s screams and dogs growling, Munch said.

They told police it sounded like she might be getting attacked by animals, he said.

When officers arrived, they forced their way into the home with their guns drawn and saw the dogs mauling the 54-year-old woman in a front room, Munch said.

One of the dogs, a male pit bull, rushed at officers, who shot it.

The officers had to shoot two more dogs because they would not stop biting the woman, Munch said.

A fourth dog eventually attacked officers, who used a stun gun, then shot it when non-lethal efforts were unsuccessful, Munch said.

The woman had severe wounds to her head, torso and arms, the police chief said.

She was taken to a New Orleans hospital, where she remained in critical condition. Munch described the woman’s wounds as life-threatening.

“Twenty-five years of police work, it’s the worst dog attack I’ve ever seen,” Munch said Wednesday afternoon, clearly shaken by the incident. “It’s a tragedy.”

The woman lived in the home with a boyfriend and had just returned home alone when the attack occurred, Munch said.

Authorities have not been able to determine what sparked the attack, but Munch said one of the female dogs recently had a litter of puppies.

He speculated the dog became overprotective of the puppies and attacked the woman, and the other dogs joined in.

“If one dog bites, the other ones usually join in,” Munch said.

No one answered the door at the woman’s house Wednesday evening. Blood stains were visible on the wooden front porch and on the street in front of the house.

Trey Arline, who lives in a duplex across the street from the woman, said her dogs had never threatened him, but they had attacked his dogs.

He said he heard the gunshots when the police killed the dogs.

“They did what they had to do,” Arline said.

The city should come up with more rules to control pit bulls, said Ann Bunch, who also lives in the duplex.

Westwego has ordinances that bar pit bulls from roaming free in backyards, or being walked without a leash.

However, Mayor John Shaddinger said there are no rules about how the dogs must be confined within a home.

“It’s definitely a tragedy, but we can’t regulate people’s homes,” Shaddinger said.

Westwego Councilman Glenn Green said he will consider seeking an ordinance outlawing vicious breeds in light of the incident.

“I’ve got to do something, man, I’ve got to do something,” he said.

Pit bulls have been the target of laws in other jurisdictions.

According to animal shelter officials, they are the breed most commonly left at shelters and most commonly euthanized.