TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A young Indigenous boy was killed by an American pit bull terrier on Thursday evening (Dec. 2) in south Taiwan.
The three-year-old boy was in his neighbor's yard at 7 p.m. in Pingtung County's Chunri Township when he was bitten by the dog on his abdomen. He was declared dead after being rushed to the hospital, reported SET News.
The dog was on a leash at the time of the incident, and police have asked both the owner of the dog, surnamed Chiang (江), and the boy's mother to file reports on the incident. The area where the attack occurred has been sealed off with a police cordon.
According to a preliminary investigation, the boy, who had recently started kindergarten, was attacked by the dog as he ran in his neighbor's yard. The yard is near a doorway to his home.
During the attack, the dog reportedly latched onto the boy's stomach with his powerful jaws and would not release him. A neighbor called the police and assisted with taking the boy to the hospital.
However, due to the severity of the boy's injuries, doctors were unable to save him, and he was declared dead at 10 p.m. Just prior to the incident, the boy's mother had left the child with his grandmother to go buy food for the evening meal, reported the Liberty Times.
Residents of Chunri Township were shocked to hear news of the attack. The township's mayor, Ko Tzu-chiang (柯自強), said the boy had a mild learning disability and that the mother was a single parent, adding he had offered to provide financial assistance for funeral expenses and psychological counseling.
The Department of Indigenous Peoples said that after receiving news of the tragedy, it had dispatched social workers to provide emotional support, distribute aid, and accompany the individuals involved when filing police reports.
In August, the Bureau of Foreign Trade added American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers to the list of animals barred from import. The rule went into effect in late October.
Current pit bull owners can continue to raise their dogs as long as they apply for registration before Feb. 28, 2023. Otherwise, they face a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000 and can have their dog confiscated.
In addition, when walking their pit bulls in public, owners are required to keep their dogs muzzled and on a leash not exceeding 1.5 meters. Otherwise, they face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, in accordance with the Animal Protection Act (動保法).
The Pingtung County Agriculture Department said the case could be a violation of the criminal code (刑法) and that it will follow up and determine accountability based on reports from the prosecutors and police. There is also an inquiry underway to determine whether the dog was microchipped and registered.
Scene of pit bull attack. (Pingtung County Police Bureau photo)