A 4-year-old girl died after being mauled by dogs in central Alabama while she was playing outdoors Wednesday afternoon, media reports said, citing local police.
The attack happened on the south side of Tallassee, about 33 miles east of Montgomery, on Lower Tuskegee Road, according to Tallassee Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers. The yard at the home reportedly had no fence and the police suspect that more than one dog was involved in the attack.
“In talking to the grandfather who was supervising the child, the child had been paying outside, and when he went to check on her, he saw a dog on top of the child, and it appeared to be dragging the child. He ran out, and the dog ran off, and he carried her into the house, and called 911,” Rodgers reportedly said.
The grandfather of the girl, whose name wasn’t revealed, identified a neighbor’s dog -- a white German Shepherd mix -- as the dog he saw on top of his granddaughter.
"We are working with the district attorney's office to determine what, if anything can be done to the dogs," Rodgers said, adding: "We have identified the owner of the shepherd mix. We are investigating to see if any criminal charges can be filed."
The name and details of the owner of the dog have not been revealed. Police reportedly have quarantined two dogs -- the German Shepherd mix and a Labrador mix -- to see if forensic evidence can be gathered to link the dogs to the attack.
Neighbor Janet Kahn reportedly called the German Shepherd mix “dangerous” as it had earlier attacked her son’s chicken coop, killing all the chickens. She reportedly said: “I feel sorry for the people who own that dog, and the pain they are going through that it took a child's life.”
Rodgers said that local police had not received complaints about the dog before the attack on the child. Police have reportedly urged everyone in the area to keep their dogs fenced in and leashed.