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Boy, 4, killed by dogs: Fla. boy's mauling by his uncle's Pit Bulls stirs debate

Boy, 4, killed by dogs: Fla. boy's mauling by his uncle's Pit Bulls stirs debate
Boy, 4, killed by dogs: Fla. boy's mauling by his uncle's Pit Bulls stirs debate
Pit Bull / Wikimedia Commons

A 4-year-old boy who was visiting his uncle’s home in Florida was attacked and killed by two pit bulls that escaped their crated enclosures and mauled the young boy to death. Four-year-old Logan Shepard was visiting his aunt and uncle in the Hillsborough County city of Riverview, Florida this past weekend when the pair of dogs turned on the boy. Both of the pit bulls were put down after the attack.

The SpreadIt.com, which carried a photo of Logan, reported that “Saturday night around 10:30 p.m., 4-year-old Logan Shepard walked with his mom Stephanie Groulx to his uncle’s and aunt’s home located in Riverview near Rhodine Drive. Stephanie Groulx was greeted by her sister Delores Frederick and her husband Billy Fredericks, who were thrilled to see the toddler and gave him a bowl of ice cream.”

While the adults remained in the home and talked, the pair of pit bulls, who the family says Logan had been around multiple times in the past, got loose from their crate and attacked the boy. The family heard screams, as did Hillsborough deputies who were on a nearby traffic stop. Logan was found in the front yard, dead, with the dogs standing over him.

Logan’s sister, who responded to the door when called on by the media, said Logan was a quiet boy “who loved everybody.” She declined to give her name, simply stating: “I’m not ready for that,” before closing the door.

The Pet Resources Division of Hillsborough County responded to the home and took possession of the dogs. The pit bulls were euthanized, and an autopsy of the dogs is planned so that officials can determine if there were “medical issues or other stressors that may have triggered the attack,” reports tbo.com.

“It hits you right in the heart because if anything happened to my kids I don't know what I would do,” said neighbor Crystal Hunley. “I couldn't even imagine what those parents are feeling right now.”

Other neighbors said they are disturbed at the attack, reflecting on the fear that their own children could have been targeted by the dogs.

“It bothers me especially because I have 10 grandchildren 6 kids. I don't want to see any kid go like that,” said Dennis Almeda. “It is a horrible thing grieving process that you will never get over.”

No charges have been brought against the owners of the animals.

The vicious attack has once again stirred debate over the potential aggressive nature of certain breeds of dogs.

Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman for Animal Services in Hillsborough County, said “there is no science that backs up breed discrimination. It’s the circumstances, not the breed. Any dog can bite. The cardinal rule is to never leave any dog and any child alone in any case.”

Ryan said officials are “trying to roll back the layers now to find out how that occurred” in Logan’s case.

But are pit bulls inherently dangerous? The ASPCA, in an article entitled The Truth About Pit Bulls, says the breed “has acquired a reputation as an unpredictable and dangerous menace,” in part because the pit bull’s “intimidating appearance has made him attractive to people looking for a macho status symbol, and this popularity has encouraged unscrupulous breeders to produce puppies without maintaining the pit bull’s typical good nature with people.

To make matters worse, irresponsible owners interested in presenting a tough image often encourage their pit bulls to behave aggressively. If a pit bull does bite, he’s far more likely to inflict serious injuries than most other breeds, simply because of his size and strength. A pit bull bite is also far more likely to draw media attention. – ASPCA.org

What is your opinion of the pit bull breed? Would you, or do you, own one if you have young children in the home? Sound off below.