Three dogs were shot dead by police after the canines mauled an eight-year-old boy to death. The incident took place in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia in southern Africa, on Sunday.

Police said the German Sherpards attacked the boy, identified as Gift Phiri, after escaping from the home when their owner, Womba Samakayi, opened the gate to park his vehicle. The victim’s mother was also attacked by the canines when she tried to save her son. The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to injuries. Meanwhile, police arrived at the scene and shot the dogs before arresting the owner. Fearing the safety of Samakayi’s family, police evacuated the home as residents of the area started mobilizing attack on the residence.

Speaking to local media, Esther Katongo, a police spokesperson said, “The owner of the dogs is in custody, while the rest of the family members have been evacuated to safety as an incensed crowd threatened to cause damage to the property. Police officers quickly rushed there to save the situation.”

Residents of the area said the dogs were terrorizing the neighborhood and were also preying on chickens. Calling the incident traumatizing, Jenala Luyande, a witness to the incident, said, “It is not true that the boy was attacked just outside Mr. Samakayi’s house. Gift was playing with his friends more than 500 meters away when he met his fate.”

Meanwhile, the victim’s father, Jacob Phiri, said he was not at home when the incident took place and that he received a call from his wife stating that their son was attacked and killed by dogs.

“I am sad man because of the death of my first born son. According to the report I received, it was just negligence on the part of the owners of the dogs because if you look at the house where they came from, and where the incident happened, the distance is quite huge. The other thing is that the whole thing happened at midday when the kids were playing,” he said.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and the body of the victim was in the mortuary as of Monday.

German Shepherd
In this photo, a dog is seen during the First Championship of German Shepherd Dog Breeding organized by the Association of German Shepherd Dogs of Nicaragua in Managua, Feb. 10, 2013. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images