A 7-year-old Oklahoma boy was killed by a family dog last week, local authorities say.
The boy, identified by KOCO and family as James McNeilis, went missing from his home south of Kifar around 7:20 p.m., Oct. 20, less than 15 miles south of Tulsa, the Creek County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. When authorities arrived at the scene, a member of McNeil’s family found him on the property.
The statement said, “The baby was pronounced dead at 7:35 p.m.
The child’s death is being investigated by state medical examiners, officials said. The Creek County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA Today.
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McNeil’s family told 2 News Oklahoma that the boy’s father found the boy in the yard where he was playing with the dog, saying it was a Shelty-Corgi mixture.
They added that the family took the dog as stray and that the dog had never been aggressive in the three weeks before the attack. Authorities said the dog was kept at an animal control center.
Neighbor Shannon Edison told KOTV that her family was celebrating a birthday on their porch and when they heard a commotion nearby, they knew “something was wrong.”
“As a mom, you know that scream, if anyone has ever heard that scream, you know that scream,” Edison said. “It was gut-wrenching. No family would ever have to go through that.”
In a Facebook post from Saturday, the boy’s father, Michael McNeilis, talks about his son.
“He was full of life and light and he was going to change the world,” he wrote. “His light will change the world. We are alone and lost without him and doing what we can but it’s hard. Everything here hurts except my little boy.”
In 2020, according to dog bites, 46 people were killed by dogs in the United States, including 15 children aged 9 or under. Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital says about 800,000 dog bites require treatment each year, and more than 50% of dog bite victims are children.
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