A 5-year-old survivor of the Moore, Okla., tornado that devastated the community was killed by a Bullmastiff dog on Sunday, according to reports.
“The child was putting on some shoes and was crying and upset,” Deputy Scott Hinojosa, with Garland County in Arkansas, told FOX-16 television. “The dog possibly took that as being aggressive and at that time the child was attacked.”
The attack happened in a Jessieville, Ark., home along Highway 298.
The dog’s owner, Lynnn Geiling, said she and her husband tried to pull the Bullmastiff off the boy. They child suffered “major lacerations” along the head and neck, officials said. He was pronounced dead later at a nearby hospital.
CBS affiliate KTHV reported that the boy and his parents were staying with friends in Jessieville when the attack took place.
Police said the dog was put down by a family friend.
“To me, it’s heartbreaking,” Hinojosa told KARK-TV. “I’ve got a 5-year-old daughter. You can’t imagine what this family and friends are going through right now.”
According to NBC, the Bullmastiff breed isn’t bred to be aggressive and is used as a watchdog.
However, the American Bullmastiff Association warns that parents should “never leave a child unattended with your Bullmastiff.”
“They are pack animals and will find their natural place in the pack if left to natural processes. That place may be at the top of the pecking order instead of below younger family members if left unchecked,” it added.