GRANITE BAY (CBS13) - It was a story that had even seasoned law enforcement officials heartbroken.
"We never want to see this; this it's a complete tragedy and our heart goes out to family. I can't imagine what they're going through," said Placer County Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Andrew Scott.
Deputies and animal control are searching for answers after a 6-year-old female pit bull fatally mauled a 13-month-old boy. The boy was inside a home on Olive Ranch Road being watched by a relative. Police received the 911 call shortly after 3 p.m.
Few in the Granite Bay neighborhood could find words to talk about the incident.
"It's scary that it can happen so close to my house," said Gavin Smith, who lives two houses down from where the toddler was mauled.
Placer County Sheriffs Department deputies responded immediately, but there was little they could do.
"When deputies responded to the scene, the relative that was watching the child was able to get the child away from the dog," said Scott.
Neighbors, including Smith, joined others trying to figure out what was taking place with deputies and animal control officers gathered in front of the single-story bungalow.
"My mom heard from somebody that there was blood on the lady's face or on the kid's face," said Smith.
Later, they learned the tragic news that the toddler later died at Roseville Medical Center.
The pit bull is now quarantined with Placer County Animal Control. Sheriff's deputies say their preliminary investigation points to an accident.
"There doesn't appear to be any neglect; there doesn't appear to be anything that provoked the dog; it was just a horrific circumstance that occurred," said Scott.
Smith is the owner of two large pit bulls and says his dogs are timid, and he can't understand how this happened.
"Usually it's not really the dog that's the problem, it's the people who raise the dog," he said.
"You go and train a dog to be aggressive, it's going to be aggressive. If you don't be aggressive with the dog it's going to be fine."
Scott says that while accidents like this are rare, pet owners should do what they can to avoid tragedies like this.
"It's always a good idea to keep an eye on your dog when they're around your small children -- whether they're a big dog or small dog, regardless of breed," said Scott.
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