South Dakota family’s dog mauls infant boy to death, authorities say

A 6-week-old South Dakota boy died Thursday after being attacked by his family’s dog, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputies and fire officials responded to a home in Hartford, about 15 miles northwest of Sioux Falls, after a Belgian Malinois bit the baby several times, the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement obtained by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

ILLINOIS WOMAN LIKELY MAULED TO DEATH BY HER RESCUE FRENCH BULLDOG: POLICE

The boy was flown by helicopter to a hospital, where he died of his injuries, the sheriff's office said.

“It's a very sad situation,” Sheriff's Sgt. Zachary Cegelske told KELO-TV. “It's a very tragic loss for the family and friends.”

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society took custody of the dog while sheriff's investigators work to determine what caused the dog to bite the infant.

Animal control experts told the station that it’s difficult to know when an animal will bite, and urged pet owners to keep their pets apart from people who the animals are unfamiliar with.

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“Most dogs and cats bite out of fear,” Sioux Falls Animal Control Lead Officer Milo Hartson said. “They're just scared of their environment, what's happening.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.