Michigan Boy, 4, Dies after Being Attacked by Pit Bull

A four-year-old boy has died after a dog attacked him at his home in Michigan on Tuesday, according to police.

The unnamed boy's family was fostering the 60lb male pit bull at their home in the city of Hazel Park, Oakland County, when it turned on the child, The Detroit News reported citing a police statement.

As the attack unfolded, the child's 38-year-old mother used a knife to cut the dog in an attempt to protect her son.

The boy's 14-year-old sister called the police at around 6:45 p.m., telling authorities her mother was trying to fend off the animal.

When police and fire department personnel arrived at the scene, they saw they a dog "actively attacking" the child. Hazel Park Fire Department and Hazel Park Police Department attended the incident.

Officials used Tasers to try to stop the dog mauling the boy. The animal then ran from the property.

The boy was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead. He suffered serious wounds to his body and neck.

The dog also bit the mother. She was treated at hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

The authorities were able to track down the animal, which was later put down by a local vet.

The Hazel Park Police Department said in a statement seen by WWJ News Radio 950: "A preliminary finding appears that this case was a tragic incident and the investigation continues to determine why the dog attacked the boy.

"The Hazel Park Police Department extends its sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased."

Earlier this month, a man appeared in court after his dogs mauled a 9-year-old girl to death in Detroit, Michigan, in August, according to ABC 7 Detroit.

Emma Hernandez was riding her bike when the dogs attacked her.

The owner Pierre Cleveland, 33, was charged with second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and having a dangerous animal causing death.

In order to keep infants and young children safe around animals, the RSPCA animal charity advises parents not to leave children alone with dogs, even if the pet is their own. Children should not approach the animals when they are eating, enjoying a toy, sleeping, injured, tired, or unwell, or blind or deaf.

Parents should also teach kids to not act towards a dog in a way they wouldn't want them acting towards a child, for instance by pulling their ears. The charity also warns against children approaching dogs they don't know, for instance when out at the park.