Over the weekend, a 5-year-old boy was mauled to death by a Bullmastiff who belonged to a family friend — just one month after the boy survived a deadly tornado that destroyed his family’s home in Moore, Oklahoma.
The incident happened at a home in Jessieville, Arkansas, where the boy and his family were staying with friends. According to CNN, the boy’s parents had returned home 200 miles away to survey the damage to their house and “gather up the pieces of their lives,” so they weren’t there when the attack occurred.
CBS affiliate KTHV reported:
A police report said the boy was throwing a temper tantrum at a family friend’s home over putting on a pair of shoes. While a woman was trying to calm him down, the dog came from another room and attacked the child.
“The dog possibly attacked because he felt threatened,” explained Deputy Scott Hinojosa.
The woman reportedly tried to pry the dog off the boy, but was unable to at first, so she called for her husband to help. By the time he arrived, she had separated the two, but it was too late. The couple then rushed the bleeding boy to meet an ambulance, which transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Garland County Animal Control said the dog ran away but was later captured and put down by a friend of the family. Police didn’t release the little boy’s name, and no charges have been filed against Lynn Geiling or her husband.
Not to be confused with the the pit bull terrier — notoriously known as an aggressive fighting dog — the Bullmastiff is usually bred to serve as a watchdog and protect the home of its owner.
The American Bullmastiff Association says the breed needs no special training to “react appropriately if his family is threatened,” so owners are warned to never leave small children unattended if a Bullmastiff is in the home.
Their website warns:
In general, bullmastiffs do very well with children. It is imperative, however, that bullmastiffs be taught to respect children, and that children be taught to respect bullmastiffs. … Never leave a child unattended with your bullmastiff, or any dog. 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.