The owner managed to pull the frenzied dog off the child, but it was too late.

Free State police have confirmed that a three-year-old boy was mauled to death by what appears to be a pit bull dog, belonging to the child’s neighbour.

The attack on the toddler took place in Sekoti-mpate on Sunday mid-morning.

Neighbourhood children played in the yard often

It’s understood there were two dogs in the yard at the time, but only one had attacked the child, who went to the neighbour’s yard looking for something.

According reports given to police on scene, it wasn’t unusual for children from the neighbourhood to play in the yard.

Police spokesperson Sargent Mahlomola Kareli said the owner managed to get the frenzied dog off the child during the attack, but it was too late.

When Hennenman police arrived on scene the child had already died, with police noting serve injuries to the child’s head.

Despite the owner’s intervention, who removed the dog away from the scene, the canine was still aggressive when police arrived.

“It didn’t allow anyone to approach it, and even the owner kept his distance, dog went berserk and police had to intervene,” explained Kareli.

The police subsequently shot the dog, who was behaving aggressively after the attack.

“The SPCA arrived on scene and removed the other dog from the year.”

Community demands pit bull owners surrender their pets

Sargent Kareli described the situation in Sekoti-mpate as tense.

“When we arrived, there was already community members that gathered outside the house.

They’re now instructing all pit bull owners to hand over their animals to the SPCA.

Hennenman police have since opened an inquest for further investigation.

Just last week an eight-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pit bull at his home in Bloemfontein . That dog also belonged to the child’s neighbour, police said.

The boy had been playing in his yard in Vista Park when the dog jumped over the fence and attacked him.

Bloemfontein SPCA reported that 49 dogs were surrendered following the boys death.

There’s been calls for South Africa to join countries like New Zealand and Germany, that have banned the breed.

NOW READ: Bloemfontein residents surrender 49 pit bulls to the SPCA