EL PASO, Texas - Following a deadly dog attack Thursday, the city's animal control division is urging residents to report cases of potentially dangerous dogs.
The attack Thursday evening at a home on the 9100 block of Morelia in El Paso's Lower Valley. Police confirmed the 4-year-old Jacob Brooks was mauled and killed by a pack of dogs.
"The child had been left by his mother in an enclosed trampoline in the backyard where there were four dogs," police said in a news release.
Investigators told ABC-7 the four dogs belong to the homeowner and the boy lived at the home. "The child's mother was placed into protective custody and turned over to medical professionals at medical facility," police said.
A spokesman with the City of El Paso's Animal Services couldn't comment on the investigation, only telling ABC-7 El Paso Police Department is handling the case. Spokesman Ramon Herrera couldn't confirm if any neighbors reported the dogs before the attack.
"Had there been some kind of neighborhood involvement, there could have been, we don't know, a different outcome," Herrera said.
Herrera tells ABC-7 it's important for residents to call 311 and report any dangerous animals.
"If you ever see any animal that might need to be looked at, because they're too timid, maybe they might seem overly aggressive in a way where they're not being provoked. We ask folks to report that by calling 311."
Animal Services field officers will then respond and handle each incident on a case-by-case basis.
"Depending on the severity of the situation, the pet owner will be guided to follow certain curriculum, maybe a follow-up assessment in situations where there might be one particular issue, we'll let the owner know, hey you want to get this checked out, we'll follow up with you, the follow-up happens."
Herrera says there are different warning signs to look out for but pet owners need to interact their pets with the public and make sure they have nutritious food, water and shade.
"If you see an animal in distress, one that may be too shy around people and one that may be completely afraid of people and lashing out at people, and you see that they're acting in a certain way when they're not being provoked, and any slight inclination. If you're in doubt, go ahead and report it, we'll take a look at it."
Herrera says a simple report could prevent a possible deadly situation.
"If a neighbor is observing an animal that may be overly aggressive on their own property, backyard, what will happen if that animal gets out. There's a lot of what if's in these situations."
Herrera adds reporting can help pet owners become more responsible.
"For residents they might need a little help, a little guidance, we'll do that for them."
He says cases are handled differently when an animal attacks a person.
"If an animal ever bites someone, that's automatically a quarantine process of 10 days, and following up on that in another assessment, following that quarantine and determining whatever that outcome might be, can be a situation where special restrictions may be placed on the owner and the pet, or if that pet might not be returned to that owner."
Herrera adds pets are required to be vaccinated, micro chipped and licensed with the city. He says owners are often fined for failing to confine their pet and failing to make sure they are on their property.
The attack is still under investigation.