Prosecutors weigh charges in deadly dog attack in Port Richmond

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Thursday, August 2, 2018
Prosecutors weigh charges in deadly dog attack
Prosecutors weigh charges in deadly dog attack. Maggie Kent reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on August 2, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Prosecutors are now weighing criminal charges in a devastating tragedy that unfolded in Philadelphia's Port Richmond neighborhood Wednesday night.

A 2-year-old boy was mauled to death by pit bulls inside the family home.

The Special Victims Unit is now investigating to determine if possible reckless endangerment and child endangerment charges are warranted against the homeowners for keeping the five pit bulls inside their house.

"We're looking to see whether there was neglect involved. But right now we don't have any obvious signs of that," Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Cellphone video showed the moments officers arrived at the row home on the 3000 block of Agate Street around 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Officers fired into the home upon seeing two dogs mauling the little boy. There were three more in the home.

"They could clearly see the child laying in the middle of the living room floor and said the dogs were around the child, attacking the child, and that's when they had to take immediate action," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Police fired seven shots at the dogs, killing one of them and wounding two others.

This allowed officers to go in and grab the badly wounded child.

"They made a valiant attempt to get in and save the baby under very difficult circumstances with some very powerful animals charging you. And they did the best they could," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

The boy was already unconscious and severely wounded. He was rushed to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children where he later died.

Officials say the boy's 23-year-old aunt, who was babysitting the child, was also injured while trying to protect him.

Neighbors say they also tried to help.

"All of a sudden I see the dogs bucking at the baby and the aunt and all of a sudden they kept telling me to go in and get the baby, but you can't because they're surrounded by all these dogs," neighbor Jason Rash said,

Animal Care and Control Officers took the pit bulls, including the two that were wounded.

Police say it's unclear how the dogs got to the child or if they were being kept in cages and somehow got out.

"Why would they keep dogs like that in the house? I don't understand, you can't control your dog, why would you keep it with kids? What a shame," neighbor Toms Ems said

It's unclear at this time if the dogs were being trained for fighting.


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