(KATV) A family who lost all their material possessions in one of the recent Oklahoma tornadoes lost their 5-year old in a dog attack in Arkansas Sunday. The boy was staying with a family friend in Garland County. The bullmastiff belongs to the homeowner.
Bullmastiff's are commonly known as gentle giants, powerful but sensitive. However they are natural guardians of their home and owners.
Deputy Scott Hinojosa tells Channel Seven, Sunday, when the boy reportedly acted out at the female homeowner, the dog likely saw that his master was being threatened and needed protection.
Sunday, the family who lives down this private road in Jessieville rushed the five year old to a waiting ambulance, but the boy was pronounced dead from his injuries.
Mary Bournival says, "I am just really sorry that this happened in Garland County to people who have undergone such tragedy. It makes your heart bleed for them."
With the focus on the injured child, the family pet got away. It was caught Monday afternoon and destroyed.
Bournival is a Justice of the Peace in the county. She adds, "Right now we have one of the most relaxed laws in the state. We don't even have a simple leash law."
She showed Channel Seven pictures of some of the latest victims. "These pictures are from the past two years here in Garland County that have all been victims of these mastiff, bully, type breeds." The pictures are graphic. Flesh from the legs to the arms and face torn off children, adults and the elderly; all leaving permanent scaring.
Bournival adds, "I would say just in the last two months we've had at least 7 attacks involving these dogs."
The committee is discussing whether to ban breeds or have mandatory restrictions like neutering, micro chipping and containment. Even though there is strong opposition, Bournival hopes these latest tragedy shows the need for a dog ordinance. "That was a tragedy that was foreseeable. We knew that it was just a matter of time that we would have a tragedy."
When a Channel Seven crew stopped by the Hot Springs Animal Shelter, a couple was surrendering two pet pit bulls. They said they worried about the well-being of children after this latest tragedy.
The county has an ordinance that fines owners $500 if their dog attacks a person or animal.
The committee has a meeting Monday, June 10 at 6 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the court house. Stay with katv.com and Channel Seven for an update.
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