MOUNTAIN HOME, N.C. — A pit bull mauled to death a child who apparently had climbed over a fence to get into a neighbor’s yard in western North Carolina.
The Henderson County sheriff’s office told local media they were called around 4:30 pm to a residence in Mountain Home, south of Asheville, on Tuesday and found the boy in the fenced backyard.
Deputies said the pit bull was so aggressive they had to shoot the animal so emergency workers could get to the child.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office says the 6-year-old is Joshua Strother.
Joshua, who would have started the 1st grade next month in school, jumped the fence into the neighbor’s yard, while his mother was inside the home.
When the deputies arrived to Piney Ridge Drive they were unable to get to the child due to the aggressive nature of the pit bull.
The mother of the child says it was a common way for the child to visit the neighbors.
Jerry Hayes, Joshua’s great-grandfather cried when he talked to an Asheville newspaper reporter.
Joshua was “smart as a whip. He could count up to 100 frontwards and backwards. He liked to ride bikes and climb. He was very active. He liked SpongeBob,” Hayes told the Asheville Citizen-Times.
The neighbors had adopted the dog from a North Carolina shelter, and had only had the dog 3 weeks.
By the time deputies got to the child, no medical treatment could save him.
The dog was properly fenced in the yard.
The Henderson County Criminal Investigation Division and Animal Enforcement Division will continue the investigation into this death.
A woman who called 911 said she had gone to the bathroom and lost sight of the boy for a few minutes, then was unable to get into the neighbor’s yard where he had been attacked.
The Associated Press and WSPA-TV contributed to this report