A 2-year-old Georgia boy was mauled to death by the family pit bull Wednesday afternoon, police said.
Fulton County Police Detective Melissa Parker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the attack happened around 1 pm when Beau Rutledge’s mother had gone to use the restroom and left him alone with the dog. When she returned, her son was dead.
“She advised it happened fast,” Parker said. “It was an obvious death once the mother came out of the restroom.”
WSB-TV, an ABC Atlanta affiliate, reports that neighbors rushed out of their houses when they heard the toddler’s mother screaming.
“(She) said, ‘The dog attacked the baby. The dog killed the baby.’ That’s what I heard her say,” neighbor Joseph Messam said.
When first responders arrived at the family’s townhouse, they were too late to save the boy. Parker said some “were in tears.”
The family had owned the dog for eight years, according to the AJC. The dog was enclosed in the house 3 pm when Animal Control came and took it a shelter to “evaluate its health and temperament.” At this point in time, it is unclear if the dog will be put down.
Administrator for Fulton County animal services Oliver Delk said it was unknown what made the dog attack little Beau.
Neighbors said the family took good care of the pit bull and that the father could be seen walking it around the neighborhood every night. When the father returned home, police wouldn’t let him in the house, and he “lost control” and had to be subdued with a Taser.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time a child has been killed by a pit bull. Last month, 14-month-old Dax Bogart was killed when his babysitter’s two pit bulls attacked him. The babysitter tried to stop the attack, but she was too late. The dogs were later removed from the home and euthanized.
In Texas last September, newborn Rayden Eugene Bruce was mauled to death in his sleep by the family’s mixed breed pit bull. The dog was euthanized at the owner’s request.
Pit bulls tend to get a bum rap in the media, according to the ASPCA. A study conducted by the National Canine Research Council found that anti-pit bull bias is rampant, and that attacks involving other breeds are often underreported or not reported at all.
“Along with over-reporting, false reporting is a major contributor to the public relations nightmare currently facing pit bulls,” the ASPCA said. “There is an emerging tendency for all short-haired, stocky dogs to be called pit bulls—and when a dangerous dog’s breed is unknown, the media is not above assuming that the dog involved must have been a pit bull. The National Canine Resource Council terms this phenomenon ‘Everything is a pit bull, whether it is or not.’”
Do you think pit bulls are as dangerous as they are portrayed to be? Or are they unfairly targeted compared to other breeds?