The family had taken in the animal three weeks before the incident and are in "disbelief".
A dog attacked and killed a 7-year-old boy last week in Oklahoma, authorities said. James McNeelis didn't come home after dinner and didn't respond to calls from the family. He was first reported missing about 7:20 p.m. on Wednesday. The Creek County Sheriff’s Office said a statement that deputies arrived at the family's home south of Kiefer by which time “a family member located the child on the property. ... The preliminary investigation indicates the child was attacked by a family pet (dog).” The young child was pronounced dead about 7:35 that night, the statement said as per NBC News.
Oh my, that is so tragic my boy is 8 so it's unimaginable something like that happening 😢— Daniel Soccio (@DanielSoccio) October 27, 2021
“It doesn’t look like any foul play,” Creek County Sheriff Bret Bowling affirmed to KOCO. “Our preliminary indications or investigation [show] it’s some kind of animal.” James was playing outside with his new dog just before the attack took place. The boy’s grandmother told KJRH that the youngster was “sweet, loving and joyful.” She also mentioned the family had had the dog, a stray corgi mix, for about three weeks before the incident. The animal had not shown any prior indications of aggression. The boy's father discovered James McNeelis' body. The grandmother told the station that the family was “devastated” and in “disbelief.” The dog is now being held at an animal control facility.
Neighbor Shannon Edison said she and her family were celebrating a birthday outside nearby when she heard a woman let out a scream. “It was a very, very life-changing scream if that makes sense,” Edison told News on 6. “We knew something was wrong. As a mother, you know that scream. If anybody’s ever heard that scream, you know that scream. Something was catastrophically wrong. It was gut-wrenching,” Edison continued. “No family should ever have to go through something like that. I just couldn’t believe it, honestly. It was something that was unfathomable.”
The family is absolutely devastated and even plan on moving after the child's funeral to recover from the trauma. The boy's father Michael F. McNeelis shared on Facebook: I know I’ve been gone. I know I’ve been an a**hole. I’m sorry to everyone I ever hurt… please.. My baby boy James was killed. The night of the 20th. Please help us… anything at all.. even if you just share his story please. He was so full of life and light and he was going to change the world. And he still is. His light will change the world. We feel alone and lost without him and we’re doing all we can but it’s just hard. Everything just hurts without my little boy here.
The family has also set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses. It read: On October 20th, 2021, Michael and Hannah found their little boy mauled in their back yard by an animal they had rescued 3 weeks prior. The dog had been watched carefully with the child, and there were never any signs of aggression. This was a sudden and tragic accident that has left this family lost and reeling. This fund is in order to help with memorial and cremation expenses for James, and will also support the family in getting a car and moving away from the home where they raised him. Their therapist recommends that they move from the site of the trauma in order to heal.
If you would like to donate, click here.