A three-year-old boy was mauled to death by two dogs outside of a home in South Africa, according to local police. This tragic event led to a community beating and setting one of the dogs on fire.

When police arrived, a large group was gathered around the yard where the attack took place. According to Free State Central News, the young boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

Free State police spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng told Eyewitness News, “The angry residents wanted to kill both dogs and attack the owner of these two pit bulls. Members of Welkom Public Order Policing were summoned to the scene and removed the owner to a safe place,” he said.

Ernest Khakhau, a member of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), also told News24 that they were attacked by the crowd when they were attempting to remove the dogs from the scene.

“We had to vacate the place because we were attacked. We left one dog there. The other dog had managed to escape, and we removed that dog, which has been euthanized,” Khakhau said.

This is an incredibly sad story, and our hearts go out to the family that lost their son, as well as the dogs. Today, pit bulls remain largely misunderstood because of irresponsible “owners”, sensationalist news stories, and the proliferation of myths. As a result, breed-specific legislation (BSL) has popped up in cities across the U.S. that either greatly restricts or completely bans pit bulls as pets.

The stigma that marks pit bulls has also contributed to their rise in U.S. shelters. One in four of all animals brought into shelters are pit bulls, and their average euthanasia rate hovers at 93 percent across the board.

However, if given the chance, pit bulls can be very loving companions, and in some communities, they have even become heroes, saving people and their guardians from harm.

Discover these top five reasons pit bulls are misunderstood, then help debunk these myths by telling your family, friends, and social media followers the real truth about pit bulls.

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