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4-year-old boy mauled to death in pitbull attack

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Geneke Antonio Lyons, 41, charged after his pitbulls killed boy

Boy, 4, was dragged under a fence by pitbulls

Prosecutor: Case a "harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership"

(CNN) —  

The owner of four pitbulls is facing a murder charge after his dogs mauled to death a 4-year-old boy in Detroit, Michigan.

Geneke Antonio Lyons, 41, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and possessing dangerous animals causing death, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Lyons pleaded not guilty in court Monday and was remanded to jail.

The vicious attack occurred last week as the boy and his mother were walking together down the street. The dogs attacked the pair and dragged the child under a fence and into Lyons’ backyard, where the boy was found lying on his back with “massive wounds,” according to the prosecutor’s office.

Three of the dogs involved were shot on the spot by police; the fourth was taken into police custody and later euthanized. The prosecutor’s office stated that the dogs were a known problem in the neighborhood and that they had escaped their fenced area in the past.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy is certain her team could prove that the defendant’s actions rose to the level of a murder charge.

“It is a gross understatement to say that this case is harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership,” Worthy said in a statement.