A 10-year-old boy was killed by a pet dog while visiting a friend after school, according to shocked neighbours.
Police were called after screams were heard coming from a house where children were playing on Monday afternoon.
The boy was mauled to death at the scene by the dog which was then shot dead by a police marksman.
Locals were in tears at the tragic death in the village of Penyrheol, near Caerphilly, South Wales.
The dog, believed to be an American Pitbull, had bitten a customer outside a nearby shop at the weekend.
It had recently been brought into the area and a family volunteered to look after it for a few hours as a favour to the owner.
A 10-year-old boy has died after being attacked by a dog at an address in Caerphilly, Wales (pictured), police said tonight.
The dog was shot dead by armed police officers on the scene.
Police scene of crime officers at the scene where a 10-year-old boy has died after a dog attack
Shop worker Tarjit Sandhu, 67, said: ‘The little boy who died was at the house with his little friend when the dog attacked.
‘It is a fighting dog, an American pit bull, it hasn’t been in the village very long.
‘A few days ago, it was tied up outside the shop where I work when a man customer bent down to stroke it.
‘The dog bit him on the arm, it was quite a nasty bite.’
Mr Sandhu said the attack had left the community in a state of shock and disbelief. ‘It’s a dreadful thing to happen,’ he said.
More than a dozen emergency vehicles were outside the family’s home at 4 pm in a street called Pentwyn, in the middle of the village.
Witnesses said at least 12 police cars as well as forensic officers were on scene this evening
Gwent Police said they were called to an address in Pentwyn, Penyrhoel, at around 3.55pm after receiving reports the boy had been attacked and armed officers were sent to the scene.
Paramedics from the West Ambulance Service attended but the boy – who has not been named – was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.
One neighbour said: ‘He was with one of his friends who was shouting that the dog was biting his leg.
‘One of the neighbours tried to get the dog off but it was impossible. It was crazed.’
Police with 12 force vehicles sealed off the road shortly after the attack took place and dozens of officers have remained at the scene.
The boy was a pupil at nearby Cwm Ifor Primary school and had returned home from lessons just before the tragedy.+8
A scene of crime officer arrives at the scene in Caerphilly where a 10-year-old boy has died
Chairman of governors Lindsey Whittle said: ‘It is just too tragic for words. I’m in tears just thinking about what happened.
‘I’ve spoken to the head and it is going to be very difficult to tell all his friends and classmates what has happened.
‘This is an entire village in shock. I’m heartbroken for his poor parents and we are all devastated.’
A nearby resident said: ‘The dog has been a nuisance on the estate for a bit of a time. I took our son down to the local shop a few days ago, and he was down there then and he was lunging at my son.
‘My son is three years old and I had to pick up my son just to move around the dog because of the size on him. He was absolutely huge.
‘He wasn’t a pet – he was taking the owner for a walk, you know. He was massive.’
Gwent Police have since launched an investigation and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
A cordon remained in place around several houses in Caerphilly late on Monday evening
Chief Superintendent Mark Hobrough said: ‘Officers will be making further enquiries at this time and will remain at the scene as the investigation progresses.
‘It is possible that you may see ongoing police activity in Caerphilly as part of this work.
‘You may have also seen an increased presence earlier today while officers were attending the incident, but please do not be alarmed.
‘If you have concerns or information then please do stop and talk with us.
A neighbour at the scene, who asked not to be named, said: ‘It’s so sad when someone dies but when a child is killed in such a tragic way it’s inexplicable.’
Another local resident added: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. It was horrific.
Medics were called but the 10-year-old boy sadly died on scene.
Gwent Police have launched an investigation and are appealing for witnesses. Pictured: scene
Councillor Steve Skivens (Plaid Cymru) said: ‘Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the young man who has lost his life.
‘We would also like to extend our thoughts to all the emergency services who attended the incident. Unfortunately an animal had to be put down
‘We await the details from the police. It’s a tragic, tragic loss of a young life.’
Forensics officers remain at the scene on Monday evening with another police car also present and several houses cordoned off as officers controlled access to the scene.
The police spokesman added: ‘Anyone with information is asked to call us on 101 quoting log reference 2100392510.
‘You can also send police a direct message on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.’