A Pit Bull belonging to the uncle of a 6-year-old boy killed the child in a sudden attack during a play session in the backyard of the home of the boy’s grandparents on Elizabeth Way in Union City, in the San Francisco Bay area, on Monday. The Pit Bull’s owner is a San Mateo police officer, authorities and a family spokesman said Tuesday.
The tragic incident occurred at about 11:30 a.m., according to an NBC Bay Area report. Police Commander Ben Horner, said it looked as though the boy had been bitten on the head by the dog after he had been "actively playing" with the pet. It is believed the boy may have tried to climb on the dog's back right before the fatal bite.
"It's a mystery as to why the dog chose yesterday to bite the young man," Horner said.
Nephi was immediately transported by emergency responders to Lucille Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto where he died about 4 1/2 hours after he was mauled, authorities state.
Family members told investigators the dog had never shown any signs of aggression and said the two-year-old male Pit Bull had regularly played in the yard with up to eight or nine children.
"He played with kids, very obedient, he was never allowed in the house, stayed right at the door, so we never had any problems with him at all," the boy's aunt, Iona Keanaaina, told KGO-TV.
Iona Keanaaina, who is married to the San Mateo police officer, said that her family is so upset they don't care what happens to the pit bull mix named "Gava." She also told NBC that Nephi, had just graduated kindergarten in Union City. He was an only child and lived with his extended family - including her eight children - at the same home. She said her husband has been a police officer for nine years.
Neighbors said that they knew there were two dogs in the house, but they never caused any problems, said neighbor Kathy Duncan.
Michael Rains, who represents the San Mateo police union, is acting as a family spokesman and said the uncle had gone to work after the incident because it was first believed the boy would be OK, according to the NBC report.
"This dog has never even barked at these kids," Rains said. "You can't figure out what happened. He was just playing with him and the next thing that happened is the dog bit the child."
The dog was in compliance with anti-rabies shots and licensing requirements, Horner added, but was impounded by animal control for a routine ten-day period for observation. According to the NBC report the family does not want to the dog back.
Rains told the Oakland Tribune the attack was just a” terrible accident” that happened to a nice family.
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Source: NBC Bay Area