An RCMP officer in Surrey, B.C., shot and killed a pit bullthat had threatenedto attack a woman who was already being mauled by two of the dogs in her home Sunday afternoon.

The victim, who takes in previously abused dogs, was being bitten on the arms and legs by two of the adopted animals.

The officer fired asingle shot, killing a third dog that was acting aggressively.

The officer then pulled the injured woman out of the house and locked the other dogs inside, before administering first aid. The woman was recovering in hospital Monday morning.

The B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told CBC News Monday morning it had taken custody of the two dogs.

Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the SPCA, said she believed one of the dogs became aggressive and the other two followed because of their "pack mentality."

"Unfortunately with a breed like pit bulls, because they can do so much more harm,sometimes that can have more tragic facts, but certainly any breed can get swept up in a moment like that," she said.

Chortyk said the SPCA does temperament assessments on all of its pit bulls, but had no connection to the dogs involved in Sunday's mauling.

She said the attack shouldn't dissuade people from adopting or fostering pit bulls.

With files from the Canadian Press