A 5-year-old tornado survivor was killed by the dog of a family friend whose house he had been staying at following the devastating May 20 storm in Moore, Okla.
The boy, whose name has not been released, died Sunday after he was attacked by a 150-pound Bullmastiff at a home in Jessieville, Ark. The attack occurred after the child had been crying in the home, according to NBC affiliate KARK.
"The child was putting on some shoes and was crying and upset," Garland County Deputy Scott Hinojosa told the station. "The dog possibly took that as being aggressive and at that time the child was attacked."
While a woman was calming the boy down, the dog came in from another room and lunged at him, according to KTHV. The woman tried to separate the two but was unsuccessful, so she called her husband for help. By the time he arrived, she had gotten them apart. The man then rushed the child to Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
KATV reports the boy acted out against the female owner. The dog likely saw this as a threat and moved to protect its master.
The dog ran away from the home following the incident, but police later told KTHV that it was captured on Monday and was put down.
The boy and his 2-year-old sister had been staying with family friends in Jesseville as their parents worked to rebuild their home in Moore.
A county law fines owners $500 if their pet attacks a person or another animal, KATV notes. A community meeting was scheduled for Monday to discuss whether to ban breeds or enact mandatory rules like neutering, micro-chipping and containment. There has been strong opposition against some of these measures.
Bullmastiffs are powerfully built dogs with high intelligence and are known for their willingness to please, according to the American Kennel Club. They are considered ideal family pets and companions. The AKC describes the breed as "fearless and confident yet docile."
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