A 7-year-old boy has died and his mother was seriously injured after a pack of dogs attacked them in Idaho over the weekend, officials said.
The attack, which the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes said involved four dogs, took place Jan. 21 on the Fort Hall Reservation in the southeast of the state, 40 miles south of Idaho Falls.
According to a press release posted on Facebook on Tuesday, officers from the Fort Hall Police Department were dispatched to a home for a report of a boy who had been attacked by multiple dogs.
When the police arrived, they found the boy unconscious. The boy’s mother was also seriously injured when she tried to fight off four dogs – two Rottweilers and two mixed breeds, tribal authorities said.
Both mother and son were taken by ambulance to hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead.
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The dogs’ owners were not home at the time, authorities said, and the four dogs were later put to death by tribal authorities.
Neither police nor tribal authorities have identified the dog owners, and the two could not be immediately reached by USA TODAY early Wednesday.
The mother and son lived in an RV behind the house where the dogs lived and where the attack took place, according to local news outlet Sho-Ban News.
The mother was alerted when her son left the motorhome and did not return after a few minutes, the outlet reported. She found him face down on the porch of the house with the mutilating dogs.
Unable to fight the dogs, she lay on top of her son in an attempt to protect him from animal attacks.
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After the mutilation, authorities cited dog owners for 15 violations of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Animal Ordinance, including vicious animal attacks, rabies vaccination and exceeding animal limit canine or feline pets.
“We would like to ask the public to respect the privacy of the family at this time,” Fort Hall Business Council Vice President Donna Thompson said in a statement. “(Council) would like to extend their heartfelt condolences to the family of the young man who lost his life in this tragic incident.”
The attack was still under investigation Wednesday by Fort Hall police, the FBI and Idaho Fish and Game and the case was to be referred to the United States Attorney for review.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.