Police probe Massachusetts 14-year-old's mauling death by dogs he was caring for

"This is clearly a tragedy for the victim, his family, his friends and the town. My heart goes out to all of them," the Bristol County District Attorney said.
Image: Teen mauled to death by pack of dogs
Ryan Hazel was mauled to death by a pack of dogs in Dighton, Massachusetts.WJAR

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By Nicole Acevedo

Police are investigating the mauling death of a 14-year-old Massachusetts boy by dogs he was caring for.

Ryan Hazel died after the attack by a group of dogs in Dighton, about an hour south of Boston, NBC Boston reported.

The incident happened Thursday evening after the boy’s grandmother drove Ryan to the property to help the homeowner take care of multiple dogs kept there, something the boy had been doing for about a year. When the grandmother noticed he was taking longer than usual, she asked a neighbor for help.

The neighbor found Ryan on the ground with traumatic injuries and called 911 after unsuccessfully performing CPR on the boy, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said. The owner, who was reported to be a dog trainer, was in Boston at the time of the incident, the TV station reported.

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"This is clearly a tragedy for the victim, his family, his friends and the town. My heart goes out to all of them," said Quinn.

Police officers found four dogs in the yard and seven other in cages, most of them Dutch shepherds. The dogs were set to be quarantined by animal control for up to 10 days.

An autopsy is scheduled to be conducted on Ryan’s body as part of the investigation.

The owner of the dogs, identified as 49-year-old Scott Dunmore, has been cooperating with the investigation. No criminal charges had been filed as of Friday night, according to Quinn, NBC Boston reported.

Ryan, who lived in nearby Rehoboth, was a freshman at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in East Taunton, where he was on the football team.

“Everyone liked him. He had a lot of friends. He would do a lot of sports. He was wicked athletic,” a friend of Ryan's, Connor Thibert, told NBC Boston. “I just can’t believe he’s gone."

“It’s just so sad to hear that he passed … It’s just so heartbreaking,” another friend, Aaron Avila, said.