Five-Year-Old Tornado Survivor Killed By Family Friend's Dog

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 11 2013 10:59 AM

Five-Year-Old Tornado Survivor Killed By Family Friend's Dog

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According to local reports, the dog that killed the boy was a Bullmastiff

File photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

A 5-year-old boy was killed when a 150-pound dog attacked him in Arkansas, where he was staying with family friends after his family's home was destroyed by a tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., last month, authorities said.
The boy, whose name hasn't been released, was pronounced dead at a hospital Sunday after the dog attacked him about noon (1 p.m. ET) at a home in Jessieville, about 50 miles west of Little Rock, Garland County sheriff's deputies said. The dog ran off, and county animal control officers searched for it Sunday and Monday. The dog's body was found Monday afternoon after a friend of its owner shot it dead, authorities said.
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Authorities said that at the time of the attack the boy was upset and crying, which the dog—said to be a Bullmastiff—may have misinterpreted as an aggressive act. The dog's owner, 50-year-old Lynn Geilling, told police that she tried to pull the dog off the boy but arrived too late to save him. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital after suffering severe lacerations to his head and neck. There's been no decision yet on whether Geilling or her husband will face charges.

In a section titled "Bullmastiffs and children" on the the American Bullmastiff Association's website, the group says that the breed generally does "very well with children," although stresses that owners should "never leave a child unattended with your bulmastif, or any dog."

The EF5 tornado that tore through Moore last month killed 24 people, injured almost 400 others, and leveled large swaths of the Oklahoma City suburb, including at least two elementary schools.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.