On Saturday night, it was the screams of a 4-year-old boy being mauled to death by pit bulls that brought two sheriff's deputies already in the Riveriew, Fla., neighborhood on an unrelated matter running to the home of Billy Fredericks Sr. They found two pit bulls, both owned by the child's uncle, standing over the bloody body of little Logan Shepard.
Reuters reported July 20 (via Yahoo News) that Logan Shepard, who had been left unattended, eating ice cream and watching television in a room of his uncle's house, had wandered outside while the grown-ups and an older cousin had talked in another room. Logan had accompanied his mother to his aunt and uncle's house where everyone was excited and celebrating a new family business venture, according to USA Today.
The child's mother, Stephanie Groulx, told authorities that they were just a few feet away and nobody had noticed that the little boy had left the room. The first they knew of his being absent came with his screams from the front yard. The family learned where Logan was at the same time the rest of the neighborhood discovered where he was.
After the sheriff's deputies arrived, Fredericks immediately put the dogs into a holding crate, WTSP reported.
Billy Fredericks Sr. told the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office that he had secured the two dogs prior to the visit.
Authorities at first believed the boy might have gone outside and released the dogs, according to a statement from sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
But Michael Shepard, Logan's father, blames Fredericks for his son's death, as does Norma Jean Bridges, the boy's grandmother. Because although Fredericks told authorities he had locked the pit bulls up in a holding crate outside before Logan and his mother arrived, family members revealed that he had let the dogs out during the visit because he wanted them to roam and "to protect his property."
Bridges, who lives just a few doors down from the Fredericks house, said she rarely visits their home because the pit bulls were almost never secured in their kennel.
Both Shepard and Bridges insist that Fredericks was both careless and negligent.
The two pit bulls were put down following the horrific attack.
The breed is known for its aggressiveness and is often in the news regarding a mauling and/or death. According to Dogsbite.org, the pit bull breed accounted for 62 percent (176) of all dog attack-related deaths (283) in the U. S. between 2005 and 2013. When added with the Rottweiler breed, the total climbs to 74 percent. In 2013 alone, the total was 81 percent, with 78 percent of the deaths occurring from pit bull attacks.
Neighbors report they're relieved that the dogs have been put down, some noting that they had been somewhat worried about a hole in the fence where they were kept. Despite the allegations of the free-roaming dogs made by family members and neighbors, no charges have been filed.