A 7-year-old boy was killed in an attack by a pit bull in North Carolina on Jan. 24. The child was playing in the woods with his brother when the fatal attack occurred.
Talen West, the boy who was killed, was pronounced dead after being hospitalized. Doctors noted puncture wounds, reports Fox News.
Jaylen’s brother, Talen West, reportedly unsuccessfully tried to save his brother from the pit bull. Jaylen had injuries to his legs but has been released from hospital.
Devin West, the boys’ cousin, said that by the time Talen’s brother could fight off the dog, it was too late, reports WRAL.
“His little brother had a machete or hatchet or something and got the dog off of him, but it was too late,” said West.
“He got him by his neck and broke his neck.”
Officials are unsure about what provoked the dog, which belonged to a neighbor, as family says the animal had never acted violently before the incident.
The pit bull breed is generally characterized as more violent than other dog breeds. A study compiling dog bite data from 2005-2014 shows that pit bulls and Rottweilers accounted for 74 percent of dog attacks resulting in a death, according to DogsBite.org.
An analysis of U.S. and Canadian press reports from 1982-2014 revealed that pit bulls made up the single largest share of breeds responsible for fatal attacks on humans.
Much of the attack risk from pit bulls is the result of human activity. Pit bulls have been selectively bred for dog fighting, resulting in a higher likelihood of the breed’s involvement in a fatal attack.
Due to selective breeding, pit bulls have an especially strong jaw and a tendency to hold onto and shake bite victims, making their attacks all the more dangerous.
While pit bulls are statistically more likely to be involved in a fatal attack, they are often the subject of sensationalized media stories. Roughly half of all news reports involving pit bulls involve violence or law enforcement shooting pit bulls while on duty.