Lovell Anderson with his parents at age 2 and the scene after he was mauled to death by a neighbor’s dog (WDIV screenshots)
A 4-year-old boy was killed this week in Detroit, Michigan, when a neighbor’s loose dog somehow got into the fenced-in backyard where he was playing and tragically mauled him to death.
The boy, identified as Lovell Anderson by family members, was visiting his grandmother and playing in the yard behind her house located in the 9300 block of Pierson Street at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday when a pit bull allegedly owned by one of her neighbors gained access to the yard and attacked him, Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ reported.
Lovell, who is an only child, was pronounced dead on the scene by emergency medical services personnel.
“The tragedy is with the family and all we can do for everybody, for everybody who is looking at this is to support the family in this process,” Detroit Police Department Commander Arnold Williams said in a news conference following the horrifying incident. “The loss of a child who hasn’t really started their life is just something huge that nobody can really even fathom.”
Lovell’s aunts, Monique Grant and Maple Blackshear, both spoke to WXYZ about their nephew, saying he was “full of life,” “such a gentleman,” and “just sweet.” Grant and Blackshear reportedly told the station that the neighbor’s dog got into the grandmother’s yard by jumping over her fence.
The attack also reportedly did not end quickly. According to reports, police said that after the initial attack, the animal attempted to drag the child out of the yard through a gap in the fence as Lovell’s grandmother screamed for help. Neighbors as far as a block away from the home told the station that they heard her screaming.
One neighbor reportedly said they could hear Lovell’s grandmother yelling “No, please stop. Stop, stop. No, please stop.” Another said she heard the cries and “thought someone was getting beat up.”
The Associated Press reported that after the attack, multiple police officers were seen searching the yards of the two homes behind Lovell’s grandmother’s residence. Police said two dogs were taken into custody by Animal Control personnel, but one of the animals is reportedly owned by Lovell’s grandmother and was not involved in the violent incident. The owner of the other dog has not been identified.
Attorney Peter O’Toole was retained by Lovell’s family. He appeared with them in front of the home on Wednesday evening, saying the family members wanted justice for what happened to the child. He also spoke about the graphic nature of the attack.
“The event was so horrific that people across the street could hear, and they were the ones that contacted authorities right away,” O’Toole said, per Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV.
Several people in the neighborhood told Detroit CBS affiliate WWJ that loose dogs roaming in the area had increasingly become a problem of late. One woman told the station she had called animal control several times but had not seen the agency take any steps to fix the problem.
Commander Williams told WDIV that the family’s hardship was preventable with proper pet care.
“Anytime that we have an event like this, it reminds everybody that if you do have a dog to secure your dog,” he told the station. “Make your dog can’t get out, and that’s the most important thing. But for a mauling like this, the child was in his own backyard, pretty much doing what all kids do. So our support goes out to the family.”
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