Boy, 4, mauled to death by granny's pet rottweiler

File photo: Mother of Amaziah Lewis 4, is comforted by a relative as she leaves K. Allen and Sons Funeral Directors, Arima on Sunday. Photo by Angelo Marcelle
File photo: Mother of Amaziah Lewis 4, is comforted by a relative as she leaves K. Allen and Sons Funeral Directors, Arima on Sunday. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

What was supposed to be a happy visit to a house where his grandmother was housesitting in Tacarigua on Sunday took a deadly turn for the Lewis family when their youngest member, Amaziah Lewis, four, was mauled to death by the grandmother's pet rottweiler.

Police said Lewis was at the Savannah Drive home at around 11 am when the dog attackedĀ  and killed him.

Residents called the police, who went to the scene and shot and killed the dog.

Newsday visited the home on Sunday afternoon and spoke with Lewis's aunt Rechaeline Stewart, daughter of the dog's owner. She said she was not at home at the time of the incident, but was told what happened.

Stewart said Lewis was in the house while the relative was cleaning the yard.

Friends and relatives of Amaziah Lewis' mother gather around her car to console her outside K Allen's and Sons Funeral Directors in Arima on Sunday. Lewis was killed by his grandmother's rottweiler earlier that day. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

"She felt his (Lewis's) presence behind him and when she looked back she saw him and told him to go back inside.

"She didn't know the dog got out of the pen. We don't know how he came out. But the child is accustomed being around dogs, because apparently he has a dog where he lives, so he's thinking the dog isn't going to do him anything.

"The dog grabbed him from the back of his neck and attacked him, so she tried her best to get the dog off of him.

"She screamed until someone from next door heard her and they started throwing things in the yard to distract the dog."

Amaziah Lewis' aunt Rechaeline Stewart speaks to media at the house at which the four-year-old boy was killed by his grandmother's dog on Sunday. - Angelo Marcelle

Eventually workers renovating a nearby house were able to scare off the dog, allowing Lewis to be taken out of the yard.

Stewart said the grandmother was unable to speak with reporters when Newsday visited the house as she was trying to calm down after the attack.

She said the grandmother usually housesits for the owner of the house, who is in Tobago. She usually brings the dog while she is visiting the house.

Stewart also said the dog had been in the family since it was a puppy and was usually playful with visitors, but like any other animal it could be unpredictable.

"I'm not going to lie. When I visit I would stand by the gate if he's outside. I would try and pet him to see the mood he's in, because I have two little boys as well that also visit here, and they're petrified of him, so they won't venture close to him.

"It's an animal you don't know its frame of mind, I can't answer the question, because I'm not a dog person."

She said for now she was trying to care for her mother as best as she could.

"I have to monitor her, because this is something she will blame herself for, even though it's not her fault. But the children were left in her care, so like anybody else, they will feel a sense of responsibility if something like that happened."

Newsday also spoke to one worker who tried to rescue Lewis from the dog.

"This whole thing took about 20 minutes to half an hour. This whole thing was horrifying, the dog wasn't listening and letting go of the child no matter what we were doing.

"We found an old ladder and jumped across and pelt some big pieces of wood, causing the dog to run. That's when the lady was able to move the child.

Lewis's body was taken to Allen's Funeral Home, Arima.

The house on Savannah Drive, Tacarigua, at which Amaziah Lewis, 4, was mauled to death by his grandmother's rottweiler on Sunday. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

On January 19, 56-year-old Gaytrie Chanderpaul was mauled to death at her D'Abadie home by her pet rottweiler.

Newsday spoke to vet Dr Raymond Deonanan who said it was important that large breeds of dogs were properly assessed and trained by qualified dog trainers.

"Any dog can bite and do damage, so whatever dog you have, you must make sure it has some level of training. A large, powerful animal or something that can maul must be properly trained, and ensure you can call out a command to stop an attack."

Deonanan, a practising vet for the past 19 years, said there was nothing inherently dangerous about certain dog breeds, but training must be a top priority for any large dog's owner.

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