A little boy just two days shy of his sixth birthday was killed after he was attacked by two dogs and mauled to death in Texas, officials said.
Tanner Smith, a kindergartener who would have turned six on Tuesday, was severely bitten numerous times by two pit bulls around 7 p.m. Sunday while the boy was at a family friend’s Vidor home, the Orange County Sheriff's Department told INSIDE EDITION.
Tanner was bitten about 16 times, with one bit going through an artery in his neck, his grandmother, Melissa Phillips, told KFDM News.
An autopsy will determine the cause of death, but the boy's neck was so severely mauled, medical examiners were having a hard time making a final determination, officials said.
Tanner's mother brought her son along to a visit with her friend, whose father owns the home and dogs, police said. That man was assumed to be outside with Tanner, but he was not there when the dogs attacked the five-year-old boy in the fenced-in yard, cops said.
When Tanner's mother realized that the man was not outside, she rushed to the yard to discover her son had been attacked.
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The man was told what happened, came home and put the dogs down, police said.
Tanner, who had a pre-existing rare heart condition, was rushed to a hospital in nearby Beaumont and was lightly breathing, but he could not be saved, cops said.