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Neighbor’s dog attacks and kills 4-year-old in Alabama, deputies say. ‘Heartbreaking’

CLARIFICATION: The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Feb. 27, corrected an earlier statement listing the breed of the dog. It was an Olde English Bulldogge, deputies say.

A 4-year-old died after a neighbor’s dog attacked him in north Alabama, authorities said.

Deputies responded to a medical emergency the evening of Feb. 26, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

An air evacuation crew responded to fly the child to a hospital, alongside a heavy presence of first responders.

Deputies said they had to euthanize the dog that attacked the child, leaving him in critical condition.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told McClatchy News the dog belonged to the neighbor.

“Please pray for the family of the child who was killed by (an) Olde English (Bulldogge) tonight in our community, as well as our Deputies, EMS, Coroner, VFD and Dispatchers that handled this call or responded to the scene,” the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said in a later statement.

Community members said they would pray for those affected, calling the incident “heartbreaking.”

“Tonight is hard,” deputies said.

The boy had been identified as Beau Clark of Hartselle, according to a GoFundMe started on behalf of the family.

Morgan County is about 35 miles southwest of Huntsville.

What to know about dog attacks

“Dogs give us comfort, companionship, exercise, entertainment, and unconditional love,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. “But it’s important to remember that any dog can bite, even trusted family pets.”

Dogs bite more than 4.5 million people each year in the U.S., and nearly 800,000 of those people need medical attention, according to the CDC.

Any dog can bite if they feel scared or nervous, or if they want to be alone. You should never approach a dog that seems angry or scared, the CDC said.

If an unfamiliar dog comes up to you, officials say you should:

  • Stay calm and be still.

  • Avoid eye contact with the dog.

  • Don’t panic or make loud noises. Don’t run.

  • Say “no” or “go home” in a deep voice. Stand with the side of your body toward the dog.

  • Slowly raise your hands to your neck and back away slowly.

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