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Riverview boy mauled to death by pit bulls

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HCSO deputies were working a traffic stop nearby when they heard the child's screams. HCSO deputies were working a traffic stop nearby when they heard the child's screams.
Logan, 4, was pronounced dead at the scene according to a HCSO report. Logan, 4, was pronounced dead at the scene according to a HCSO report.
The house at 12509 Rhodine Road, where the incident occurred Saturday, July 19, 2014 The house at 12509 Rhodine Road, where the incident occurred Saturday, July 19, 2014
Logan Shepard, 4, lived on Tocci Lane in Riverview Logan Shepard, 4, lived on Tocci Lane in Riverview
RIVERVIEW, FL (WFLA) - Shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday night, four-year-old Logan Sheppard sat down to enjoy ice cream at his uncle and aunt's house on Rhodine Road in Riverview.

Moments later, Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies found the toddler on the front lawn of the house with two pit bull dogs standing over him.

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Authorities believe the dogs attacked the boy and mauled him to death when he was left alone in the family room of his relatives' home. Logan was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report issued by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

It states Logan and his mother, Stephanie Groulx, who live nearby on Tocci Lane in Riverview, walked to the home of Groulx's sister, Delores Fredericks, and her husband, Billy Frederick Sr., at 12509 Rhodine Road Saturday night. Just before they arrived, Billy Fredericks Sr. placed the dogs in a crate.

Logan and his mother, who celebrated her 43rd birthday Friday, went inside the house, where the toddler was given ice cream. The little boy was left alone when the adults and Logan's 15-year-old cousin went into the master bedroom to talk. They then heard screams and found Logan missing when they emerged from the bedroom.

Two Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies working a nearby, unrelated traffic stop heard screams and ran toward the residence. They found the canines standing over Logan's body in the front yard, according to the report. Billy Frederick Sr. immediately crated the dogs and the Pet Resources Division of  Hillsborough County was dispatched to the scene to take custody of the animals.

The dogs were humanely euthanized Sunday, said Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman with the Pet Resources Division of Hillsborough County, the division formerly known as Hillsborough County Animal Services.

Authorities say there were no previous calls concerning the dogs. No charges have been filed at this time as the investigation continues.

Ryan has provided a list of tips  aimed to prevent the possibility of a dog attack. However, it is an accepted fact that any dog can bite, she said.

Tip 1 : Never leave a child alone or unsupervised with a dog- any breed of dog!

Tip 2: Never interrupt a dog that is eating, sleeping, or nursing pups.

Tip 3: Keep check-ups and vaccinations up to date. Rabies shots are required by law, and your vet can often detect health issues brewing that might make your pet cranky.

Tip 4: Spaying and neutering helps up curb aggression and roaming.

Tip 5: Socialize and train your dog using positive reinforcement -- not punishment.

Tip 6: Don't chain or tether your dog--it leads to frustration and aggression (and it's also against the law).

Tip 7: Avoid teasing games like tug-of-war, and use caution if ever attempting to remove a toy from a dog's mouth.

Tip 8: Remember that dogs are territorial - so do follow leash laws, don't allow dogs to roam streets. 

Tip 9: Teach kids the proper way to approach a dog, and if ever cornered, avoid screaming, running, or direct eye contact with the dog.

Tip 10: Pay attention to a dog's body language and note signs of stress or dominance that could trigger the dog to become reactive. 

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