A toddler who wandered into a neighbor’s yard Wednesday was viciously mauled by a pit bull and died a short time later at the St. Michael’s Hospital in Texarkana.

 


A toddler who wandered into a neighbor’s yard Wednesday was viciously mauled by a pit bull and died a short time later at the St. Michael’s Hospital in Texarkana.


According to Prescott Police Chief Brian Russell, there are no charges currently pending but the case remains under investigation by the Arkansas State Police and the Prescott Police Department.


Russell said PPD Detective David Thomason was the first officer to arrive on the scene shortly after the 911 call at 9:11 a.m. Thomason’s EMT training prompted a quick evaluation of the child’s injuries and he called for a medical flight.


The child was later identified as 2-year-old Matthew Hurt.


According to Russell, the investigation indicates that Matthew, his 3-year-old brother and their mother had spent the night at the home of the boys’ babysitter. The two youngsters wandered some 350 feet away to the yard of a neighbor and Matthew apparently approached the male pit bull which was tied with a chain of approximately 20 feet, according to Russell.


Russell said the older boy returned home and told his mother who went looking for Matthew.


According to Russell, the owner of the pit bull was at home but was not aware of the attack until Matthew’s mother knocked on her door during her search for Matthew.


The child was med-flighted to Texarkana and Russell said the police received word about an hour later that he had died from the injuries.


Prescott has a leash law and a vicious dog ordinance and Russell said the owner of the pit bull was in compliance on both. The leash law requires that the dog be in a fenced enclosure or on a chain. The city’s vicious dog ordinance requires additional precautions for a dog that shows signs of aggression. Russell said there had never been a complaint against this dog nor had the dog ever been picked up as a stray. The pit bull also did not show signs of aggression against Thomason as he was working with the child at the scene.


There were three dogs in the yard, including the dog that attacked Matthew, a female of the same breed and a puppy.


The pit bull responsible for the attack is currently in the custody of the Nashville Animal Shelter where it will remain until a judge determines its fate, Russell said. The female pit bull is also being held by animal control. Russell said the puppy could not be caught at the scene but said there are efforts currently underway to trap the dog.