N.C. boy killed by father's dogs

Sunday, April 18, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An 8-year-old boy was mauled to death by his father's four pit bulls, and prosecutors were considering charges against the father ranging from child neglect to murder.

Roddie Philip Dumas Jr. was attacked in the fenced-in yard of his father's home Friday. Neighbors and a postal worker who heard the boy's screams rushed to the scene.

The boy's father, Roddie Philip Dumas Sr., 29, and his girlfriend were inside the house but did not come outside until the dogs had already severely injured the boy, officials said.

"One had him on his neck. Two had him on the side. And one had him on the leg," said Edward Threatt, a neighbor.

A letter carrier threw his mailbag and then a wooden block at the dogs, which then ran away, Threatt said. But neighbors and police said the father then came outside and told the letter carrier to get off his property.

The boy was taken to a hospital, where he died.

After searching Dumas' home, police charged him with drug and firearms felonies.

Prosecutors were considering charges including child neglect and murder, although a murder charge is rare in such cases. Police said they want to find out why the boy was unsupervised and whether the adults in the house heard him cry for help.

Dumas was in jail Saturday on a $233,000 bond. A message at the jail referred callers to a Web site and it was unclear whether Dumas had legal representation.

Animal control officers seized the four dogs. It was not clear whether the dogs have a history of violent behavior.

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