When I write about these stories, I mention (a lot) that dog attack fatalities are a result, not of the dogs involved, but of the people that surrounded the dogs that led to the dog attack.
This one is case exactly one of those tragic cases.
On Sunday, 4 year old Kyler Johnson, wandered away from his home while his dad was cleaning his car. More than 100 people -- including law enforcement and volunteers, searched overnight for Kyler. Fifteen hours after being lost, Kyler was found dead -- killed by a neighbor's dog. In order to be attacked by the dog, officials say the boy had to have traveled more than 1/2 mile, likely through a wooded area.
The dog involved was one of one of 10 dogs that was chained on 10 foot chains behind a fence on the on owner's property. The dog is 'believed to be a pit bull or pit bull mix." The owner of the dogs said the dogs are 'kept as pets and used for home protection and wild boar hunting."
Authorities speculate that the boy may have intentionally been hiding from people searching for him as part of a game, but it could have also been out of fear of punishment also.
While the dog owner had never had any incidents, the same can't be said for Kyler's family.
According to media reports, in October, 2010, someone other than Kyle's father was accused of abuse and lack of supervision. A month later, physical abuse against Kyler was accused, although no evidence was found. The home where Kyler lived was also subject to a homicide investigation a year ago along with "several other calls" including someone who shot himself in the head "accidentally" during a party. That night, Kyler's father was charged with interfering with an investigation and another member of the party was charged with drug possession.
This apparently wasn't the first time the child had wandered away from his home.
This is a tragic story -- with a very young victim. But obviously highly preventable. The boy was obviously not well supervised (something that was apparently not a one-time occurance). He wandered very far from home (just think about your home, and think about a 1/2 mile radius of your home (approx. 5 city blocks in all directions) and think of the dangers that would await a solo 4 year old -- dogs, cars, creeks, ditches, walls to fall off of, swimming pools, etc) and wandered up to 10 chained dogs that were used for hog hunting and home protection.
My heart goes out to everyone in this community who obviously cared about this young boy by organizing such a large search party. But this is clearly a case of the people being responsible for incidents like this, and not the dogs.
This story appears to have been picked up by 50-70 or so media outlets.