A 3-year-old boy is recovering at Beaufort Memorial Hospital after being attacked Wednesday afternoon by a bull mastiff on St. Helena Island, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
The boy suffered severe lacerations to the head and legs after he went next door to visit his aunt on Almond Drive at about 1:45 p.m., and was mauled by her dog, a male bull mastiff named King, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.
When they saw the animal attacking the child, the boy's parents ran from their home, pulled the dog away and rushed the boy to a nearby fire station, McIntosh said.
He was taken by ambulance to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where he remained Thursday for treatment of extensive but non-life threatening injuries, according to authorities. The boy was listed in stable condition, McIntosh said.
It's not clear what prompted the attack.
The boy's parents and other family members said they did not see what happened but told investigators that the boy often played with the dog, which was restrained by a chain in the yard at the time of the attack, McIntosh said.
It had never before exhibited signs of aggressive behavior, they told authorities.
The animal has been turned over to Beaufort County Animal Control pending the outcome of a Sheriff's Office investigation.
Beaufort County Animal Control officials said the dog is vaccinated, and no previous incidents involving the animal have been documented.
Information on the dog's weight and age was unavailable Thursday.
Bull mastiffs typically weigh between 100 and 130 pounds and often are considered good guard dogs, according to the American Kennel Club.
No charges have been filed.