Experts weigh in on Port Richmond pit bull attack that killed boy, 2

- A memorial is growing days after a toddler was mauled to death by pit bulls inside a Port Richmond home.

The police investigation into what happened is ongoing, but authorities say several pit bulls got out of their cages and attacked a two-year-old boy.

Officers had to shoot the dogs to get into the house to try to save the child who was unconscious when officers were finally able to get to him. He was raced to the hospital, but he died a short time later.

Two dogs were shot and killed by police and a third was wounded. Police say there were no obvious signs of neglect and no indication of dog fighting. 

MORE: 2-year-old dies after being attacked by dogs in Port Richmond

Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened.

According to an analysis of dog bite fatalities over a 13-year period, canines killed at least 433 Americans, and pit bulls contributed to 66% percent of those deaths.

This morning on Good Day Philadelphia local experts stopped by to talk more about pit bulls and their behavior.

Doctor Michael Cohen, the owner of Center City Veterinary hospital, and Sgt. Paul Bryant, a K9 handler with the Chester County Sheriff’s Office stopped by Good Day to discuss the incident and the breed Friday morning.

When asked why the breed seems to be so prone to these types of attacks, Sgt. Bryant discussed the way they are bred in inner cities.

“There is an overabundance in the inner cities. These dogs aren’t the dogs that come from good breeders or anything,” Sgt. Bryant said. “These are dogs that have been bred in basements and backyards, and cornered… They’ve been treated bad from day one.”

Dr. Cohen discussed the pit bull breeds high “prey drive.” He defined prey drive as “a dog that sees something that it perceives as prey, maybe making squeaking noises, whether it’s laughter, crying or something like that, they can focus in right on that and perceive it as prey.”

Dr. Cohen later added that he doesn’t feel there is such a thing as a “safe breed” of dogs for a child.

“When a pit bull attacks a child the damage is going to be much worse than say a Pomeranian or a Chihuahua, but these dogs still will bite children,” Dr. Cohen said, “Any child should not be alone with a dog.”

You can hear more of the discussion in the video above.   

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