A 4-year-old Texas boy was fatally mauled in his backyard on Sunday after possibly getting “too close” to his family’s dog, officials say.
The animal, described only as a “mixed large breed,” was tied up when it attacked the child, Noah Trevino, according to local TV station KSAT.
“It appears that the child may have gotten too close to the dog,” the Bexar County Sheriff said, KSAT reports.
“A family member went to check on him in the [backyard] and saw the dog biting the neck area of the child who was laying on the ground,” Johnny C. Garcia, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, tells PEOPLE in a statement. “The child was freed from the dog by the family member who took the child inside.”
Noah was airlifted to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries, Garcia says. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
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According to KSAT, Sheriff Salazar said that children should not be left alone with dogs — even a family’s dog.
“Even if the dog doesn’t show any outward signs of aggression, sometimes they can be unpredictable,” he said. “So it’s best to always be vigilant when you’re dealing with a small child and a dog like that.”
The county’s animal control unit took the dog, Garcia tells PEOPLE. It is expected to be held for observation and tested for rabies before being euthanized, according to KSAT.
Garcia says Bexar County deputies are continuing to investigate.