DOGS owned by Mission Impossible actor Ving Rhames are suspected of having mauled a man to death, US police have revealed.

Officers called to the Los Angeles home of the 46-year-old star yesterday found a man dead on the front lawn, covered in dog bites, detectives confirmed.

It is understood that the 40-year-old victim, who has not been named, lived on the property where he reportedly worked as a caretaker.

Following the discovery of his body shortly after 07:15 local time (03:15 BST) three bull mastiffs and an English bulldog were taken away by animal services and are now under quarantine, police said.

"It appeared that the person suffered a number of injuries as a result of the dog mauling," police sergeant Lee Sands is quoted as saying in press reports.

But while revealing that "numerous" dog bites had been found on the victim's body, the police officer stressed that the exact cause of death was still pending ahead of a coroner's ruling.

The LA coroner's office has said that an autopsy is expected to be performed on the dead man on Monday, but has warned that it is "premature" to say how he may have died. Officials say it is not currently known whether he was attacked by the dogs on Rhames' property or whether he suffered a heart attack.

Reports say that the actor, who has appeared alongside Tom Cruise in all three Mission Impossible films, was not at home at the time of the incident.

04/08/2007 12:40:37