Pit bulls have long been a controversial breed. Credit: Getty Images
A 4-year-old Florida boy was mauled to death by two pit bulls at his uncle's home, said authorities on Sunday, who suggested the child may have let the dogs out of their cage to play with them.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said the boy, Logan Shepard, had been left alone on Saturday inside the home while his mother and adult relatives went into a bedroom to talk.
The pit bulls had been enclosed in a cage outside the house shortly before his arrival, the Sheriff's office said in a statement.
Authorities believe the boy may have gone outside and released the dogs, said sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter, who said the exact circumstances remained unclear.
Around 10.30 p.m., his screams were heard around the Tampa-area neighborhood and two sheriff's deputies who were already in the area raced to the home where they found him in the front yard with two pit bulls standing over him.
He died at the scene from injuries inflicted by the dogs.
The sheriff's office, which is investigating the incident, said the boy's relatives did not realize that he had left the house until they heard the screaming.