LUMBERTON — Law enforcement are trying to determine how a dog who fatally attacked one child and injured another on Sunday died.
According to Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey, the pit bull was found dead after killing 7-year-old Talen West and injuring 8-year-old Jaylen West, but had no visible injuries. A veterinarian is examining the dog, Sealey said.
The attack occurred at about 11:20 a.m. at a home on the 2400 block of Odum Road in Lumberton, a few homes down from where the brothers lived.
According to Sealey, the boys were out playing when they were approached by the dog, who was not secured.
Talen West was found unresponsive with “severe puncture wounds about the body,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. Both children were taken to Southeastern Regional Medical Center, where Talen West died. Jaylen West was released from the hospital after being treated for leg injuries.
Sealey said the Sheriff’s Office’s Major Crimes Division and Juvenile Division will consult with the District Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges should be filed.
It’s the third fatal dog attack in Robeson County since 2012. In 2014, 83-year-old Alemeaner Dial was killed by two family dogs at her home in Rowland. In October 2012, Mary Jo Hunt, who worked with local animal rescue groups, was fatally killed by one of several stray dogs she had taken in.
There were 35 dog-related fatalities in the United States during 2015, including two in North Carolina, according to DogsBite.org, which tracks dog fatalities reported by the media.
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.