An American Staffordshire dog appears in this photo. A 4-year-old boy was fatally mauled by a pit bull May 27, 2011 when the dog, which had been feared by neighbors, suddenly attacked him in his Brooklyn home.
NEW YORK (AP) — A 4-year-old boy playing with his young brothers in a bedroom was fatally mauled by a family dog that had been feared by neighbors, police said.
Jayelin Graham suffered horrifying wounds to his head, neck and torso Friday night in the assault at his mother's apartment in Brooklyn's Brownsville section.
His mother told police that when she tried to intervene, the dog, a male Cane Corso mastiff, turned on her, too. Even with the help of a neighbor who rushed to help after hearing her screams, she was unable to save the child, police said.
Police and firefighters arrived quickly and took Jayelin to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The dog was sedated and taken to a shelter.
Neighbor Anthony Brown told the Daily News the dog was a known menace.
"It was a violent dog," he said. "Dangerous. A big dog. The whole block is scared of that dog."
Police removed the dog from the house in a cage after the attack, along with other pets including a German shepherd. Investigators were unsure why the dog attacked. As of late Saturday afternoon, no charges had been filed.
The boy's great-grandfather, Ameer Jamaal-Uddin, told The New York Times the dogs belonged to the mother's boyfriend.
The apartment building's superintendent, Kenny Risher, told reporters that he had occasionally seen the man training his dogs to bite in the street in front of the building. The family also owned a rabbit that was recently eaten by one of the dogs, as well as a parrot and a snake, Risher said.
"People were scared of those dogs," he said. "This was a tragedy waiting to happen."