AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD boy has been mauled to death by his father's four Pit Bull Terriers, and US prosecutors are considering charges against the father ranging from child neglect to murder.
Roddie Philip Dumas Jr was attacked in the fenced-in yard of his father's home. Neighbours and a postal worker who heard the boy's screams rushed to the scene in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. The boy's father, Roddie Philip Dumas Snr, 29, and his girlfriend, were inside the house but did not come outside until the dogs had already severely injured the boy, officials said.
"One had him on his neck. Two had him on the side. And one had him on the leg," said Edward Threatt, a neighbour. "They were pulling on him just like you do a rag doll."
A postman threw his mailbag and then a wooden block at the dogs, which then ran away, Threatt said. But neighbours and police said the father then came outside and told the postman to get off his property.
The boy was taken to a hospital, where he died.
After searching Dumas' home, police charged him with drug and firearms felonies.
Prosecutors were considering additional charges ranging from child neglect to murder, although a murder charge is rare in such cases. Police said they want to find out why the boy was unsupervised and whether the adults in the house heard him cry for help.
Animal control officers seized the four dogs. It was not clear whether the dogs have a history of violent behaviour.