A four-year-old boy who was walking to school with his mother was snatched by a pack of pit bulls and mauled to death in Detroit, Michigan, in the US. According to police, on 3 December the four pit bulls crawled under a fence, grabbed the boy and began mauling him.

The boy suffered bites to his stomach and was taken to hospital, but he died from his injuries. The names of the boy and the dogs' owner have not been released. Police said the owner was cooperating with investigators.

"One of (the dogs) grabbed the baby from her and dragged the baby under the fence," neighbour Yolanda Samuels, who saw the incident, was quoted as saying by CBS Detroit News. "The dogs started mauling on the baby, and when we came out – we were getting ready to go somewhere – she said, 'Miss Lala, they've got my baby!'" She immediately called 911 when she saw the dogs attacking the boy.

"When I saw them carrying her baby, all I can do is grab my baby and say 'Oh my God' because he is lifeless," Samuels said. "The lady was screaming 'My baby, somebody get my baby.' They had to shoot at the dogs to literally get the dogs off the baby," she said.

Neighbours tried to scare away the dogs by throwing bricks and using pepper spray on them, but they continued to attack the boy. The mauling was stopped by police officers, who on arriving at the scene shot at the dogs. Sgt. Cassandra Lewis told Associated Press that police officers shot at the pit bulls and killed three of dogs, while one of them was taken into custody.