Authorities: Teen mauled to death by dogs he often cared for

DIGHTON, Mass. (AP) — A 14-year-old Massachusetts boy was mauled to death by dogs that he regularly cared for, a prosecutor said Friday.

The teenager killed Thursday night at a property in Dighton was identified by Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III at a news conference as Ryan Hazel, of the neighboring town of Rehoboth.

The owner of the property, who was not home at the time, is cooperating with investigators but no foul play is suspected, Quinn said.

Dighton Police Chief Robert MacDonald appeared to be visibly shaken.

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“Things like that should never happen to anybody, let alone a 14-year-old boy,” he said.

Ryan was brought to the home by his grandmother at about 6 p.m. Thursday, Quinn said.

She waited in the car because he usually took no more than 45 minutes to complete his tasks. She became worried when he took longer than normal, so she called his parents, who called a neighbor.

The neighbor went to the property, found the boy and called 911 at about 8 p.m.

Ryan had “traumatic injuries to various areas of his body,” and was pronounced dead at the scene, Quinn said.

Police found four dogs running free on the property and seven in kennels. The four that were free were Dutch shepherds and Belgian malinois.

Animal control took custody of all 11, at least one which acted aggressively, Quinn said.

There had been no prior complaints to police about dogs at the property, MacDonald said.

Ryan was a student at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton, according to a statement from Superintendent Alexandre Magalhaes.

“We are saddened by this loss in our school community, and as we come together, our leadership team will make every effort to provide assistance to our students, families and fellow employees as needed,” he said.

The towns are about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Boston.

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