The two dogs that mauled a 3-year-old New Jersey boy to death and seriously injured his mother were their neighbor’s unregistered pit bulls — which snuck into their backyard, according to reports on Wednesday.
The animals somehow got past a fence and into the yard of an adjacent home in Carteret, where the toddler and his mom were playing at around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, WABC reported.
The boy was airlifted to a hospital, where he died. His mother remained hospitalized Wednesday with serious injuries.
Shocking aerial footage from NBC4 showed first responders performing chest compressions on the tot as he was being taken to a helicopter on a gurney.
Authorities have not released the names of the victims.
Neighbors said that the family — a mother, father and three young boys — are originally from Pakistan and had just moved to the area a month ago from Brooklyn.
“He’s very, very hardworking,” Jack Beyda, a longtime co-worker of the deceased boy’s father told Patch about the dad on Wednesday. “He worked very hard to provide for his family and he saved up enough money to move out here from Brooklyn; he saved up enough to buy this little house.”
While some in the community said the dogs had never been known to be aggressive before, others described them as menaces.
“Those pit bulls bit people all in this area,” one neighbor told WABV. “I’m aware of certain houses, so I try to walk a different path when I know that they’re on that block.”
Some said the dogs were allowed free reign on the neighborhood, with one woman telling the outlet she had contacted authorities multiple times regarding the animals.
Police said the dogs were euthanized, apparently shot by arriving officers.
Carteret Mayor Daniel Reiman said the dogs had not been registered with the town, as is required by law.
“As a small community, our Carteret family mourns the heart-wrenching loss of our young neighbor,” he said. “We pray for this young mother and family in this time of unimaginable grief.”