MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A child in Goulds was mauled to death by at least one dog Wednesday morning.
Police have identified the boy as 4-year-old Javon Dade, Jr.
Police were originally called to the home because Javon was missing.
“According to investigators, at approximately 10:09 a.m., police received a phone call advising of a missing 4-year old male. As officers arrived they did an area canvas where they discovered a black male, four years of age, deceased in the back yard,” said Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Det. Robin Pinkard.
Chopper4 over the scene spotted the tarp covered body lying in the fenced yard of a home on SW 123rd Avenue about a block south of SW 228th Street.
Neighbors told CBS4’s Gary Nelson that the boy was staying with his father, Javon Dade, Sr. in the home and the family had at least two dogs who they described as being very aggressive. They said when the family’s dogs were out in the yard they didn’t go near the fence.
“They always bark so we try to keep them away because they’re pit bulls,” neighbor Janet Howard said.
Miami-Dade Animal Services determined one of the six dogs captured at the home is a pit bull. The other 5 are terrier mixes. Three of the animals are adults. Three are puppies.
“The dogs are currently be evaluated by the veterinary team,” MDAS Director Kathleen Labrada said. “They’re gathering DNA evidence and conducting assessments on the animals.”
All are still alive pending the outcome of the investigation but they are being held in protective custody and not available for adoption or released to their owners depending on the results of the investigation.
Animal services is assisting police in the investigation and trying to match the bite wounds to the dogs.
“At this point we don’t know which dog in particular but it is apparent that the young male was attacked by a dog. How many dogs, at this time we don’t know,” said Pinkard.
Labrada said they never had any previous calls about these dogs or these owners.
The landlord of the property, Kenneth Narbin, told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana he warned his tenants a week ago to remove the dogs or face eviction.
He said the boy’s father had only been living in the house for a little over two months.
“They snuck the the dogs on the property,” Narbin said when reached by phone.
Pit bulls are not allowed in Miami-Dade County.
An animal advocate showed up at the shelter in their defense Wednesday.
“It is not about the breed,” said Dahlia Canes, the director of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation. “Every dog is an individual just like we are. They should evaluate them as individuals.”
Neighbors left stuffed animals at the home in memory of Javon. His death served as a painful remember for parents and pet owners.
“The most important message that we can convey is that children require adult supervision. It’s not safe for a child to be around any animal. Even a family dog or a stray dog without adult supervision,” Labrada said.
Police are still investigating to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed.