Tanner Smith’s sixth birthday was supposed to be on Oct. 20, but he died just two days before he could blow out any candles.
Tanner was at a family friend’s home when he was attacked by two pit bulls in Vidor, Texas. According to his grandmother, Melissa Phillips, Tanner was bitten 16 times and one of bites cut an artery in his neck, KFDM reported. The boy reportedly had a heart condition.
Although an autopsy will determine the cause of Tanner’s death, his neck was so severely mauled, medical examiners have had difficulty with studying the body, Yahoo News reported.
At the time of the attack, Tanner’s mother reportedly didn’t realize the dog’s owner wasn’t outside supervising her son. Though Tanner initially survived the attack, he later died at a hospital in Beaumont, Texas.
The pit bulls in question have reportedly bitten a child before. In December 2014, the dogs were quarantined for biting a 9-year-old girl and her mother, but the state found the attack didn’t meet the criteria to deem the dogs as dangerous.
Police said that as soon as the dog’s owner heard what happened, he returned home and put the dogs down. Authorities said they don’t expect to file charges against the dog’s owner since the attack occurred in a fenced-in yard. In addition, the dog's owner paid Tanner's medical bills following the incident.
Tanner’s classmates in his kindergarten class at Vidor Elementary School reportedly celebrated his birthday with cake in his honor.