A three-year-old girl was mauled to death by a dog while she was playing with her friends in the street. The attack took place in Zwide, a town in Eastern Cape, South Africa, on Sunday.

Neighbors reportedly rushed to the scene to save the child. One of the resident also stabbed the dog multiple times to get him off the girl.

“The pitbull exited it’s yard through a broken gate and attacked while she was playing in the street with other kids this afternoon in Zwide,” police spokesperson Pricilla Naidu said, according to Jacaranda FM.

“She was playing in Msengana Street near her house when the dog attacked her. The dog was stabbed multiple times by a resident who tried to save the child," Naidu said. “She sustained several bite wounds on her neck and face and succumbed to her injuries at the scene.”

Authorities said the dog belonged to a teenager who lives on the same street. The teen was reportedly out of town when the incident took place.

The girl has been identified as Simakele Kovu, Eyewitness News reported. It remains unclear where the child's parents were when the attack took place.

“An inquest docket is under investigation by SAPS Kwazakele. Police are urging resident to make sure that their property is secured and that their pet canines remain within those secured boundaries," Naidu told local media.

The fate of the dog and its condition after the stabbing remain unknown.

According to a report by Fuicelli & Lee, P.C., an injury law firm, pit bulls have been responsible for the vast majority of fatalities associated with dogs in the United States. From 2010 to June 2021, there were 430 fatal dog bites and 185 of those coming from pit bulls; another 41 incidents involved pit bull mixes.

Earlier this month, a 61-year-old woman in Franklin County, Missouri, was mauled to death by her daughter's dogs. Leann Gratzer was attacked by two male pit bulls and one female mixed breed dog outside her daughter's home. No one had witnessed the fatal attack, authorities said. Following the gruesome attack, all three animals were euthanized by a local veterinarian.

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