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Story highlights

Boy and mother attacked by pitbulls on street

Owner of dogs taken into custody by police

CNN —  

A group of “vicious” pitbulls snatched a 4-year-old boy away from his mother, then mauled him to death, according to Detroit police.

The mother and child were walking down a street Wednesday when the mother observed two pitbulls approach them. As she tried to protect the child, one of the dogs bit her and the other began to attack the child, according to police. Two other dogs soon joined the fray.

Witness Yolanda Samuels called 911 as soon as she saw what was happening, according to CNN affiliate WDIV.

“I heard her saying, ‘Get my baby’ and the dogs grabbed the baby and pulled him underneath the fence,” Samuels told WDIV.

Police responded to the scene, where they shot and killed three of the dogs. One of the dogs was taken into custody at animal control. The dogs were a pregnant mother, father, and pups, WDIV said.

The boy succumbed to his injuries after he was taken to a local hospital.

The owner of the dogs, a 41-year-old male, was arrested by police. At press time, Detroit police had not yet filed charges or paperwork with the courts, according to Maria Miller, assistant prosecuting attorney and director of communications at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig visited the scene and told WDIV that he was struck by the viciousness of the dogs.

“This is no different than what our officers deal with when they’re dealing with armed suspects,” he said.