Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Four-year-old mauled to death by uncle's pit bulls in Riverview

RIVERVIEW — The deputies rushed to where they heard the boy's screams, but by the time they arrived the two pit bull terriers were standing over his body, and his ice cream bowl lay by his side.

The dog's owner quickly crated the animals, deputies said, just as he'd done before 4-year-old Logan Shepard and his mother came to visit.

The child was dead before the ambulance arrived.

Stephanie Groulx, 43, had walked her son from their nearby home to his aunt and uncle's house at 12509 Rhodine Road in Riverview Saturday night. It was around 10:30, and the neighborhood has many large, fenced-in yards. Some owners have posted signs cautioning others to "beware of dogs."

Once inside, Logan was given a bowl of ice cream, and the adults left him for the master bedroom to talk. The boy sat alone for a while in the family room, until his interest turned outside.

Deputies think the boy then walked out to the kennels and may have unlatched them himself.

The adults heard the screams, as did two Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies who had a car pulled over 100 yards away.

By the time everyone converged, there was little anyone could do. The boy's uncle, Billy Frederick Sr., surrendered the dogs to authorities after returning them to their crates.

They were later euthanized with the owner's consent.

"So many (dog attacks) occur in the family home, with the family dog, and it happens as a result of children being unsupervised," Hillsborough County Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan said.

Every year about two Floridians die from dog attacks. The majority of deaths are boys between the ages of 1 and 9, according to the state.

In 2010, a pit bull terrier mauled a 7-day-old infant in New Port Richey. The mother had fallen asleep with the baby and the dog in the room together. She was not charged with a crime. And in Ocala that same year, a young girl wandered near a tree where a pit bull was tied. She was attacked and killed. The girl's mother was inside the house.

No charges have been filed against anyone in this latest case. The county had no prior record of responding to the address for animal complaints.

Cars stopped Sunday in front of the Groulx household, as neighbors and family members checked in on Logan's mother and sister.

Many defended the family, saying there was no way of knowing exactly what happened or why the dogs turned on the little boy.

Leslie Sprang has lived in the neighborhood since 1976 and said this is one of the worst tragedies to have hit the community.

He cautioned people against keeping several dogs together, no matter what the breed.

"I don't care whether it's pit bulls or little Shih Tzus, you get them in a group and they can get that pack mentality," Sprang said. "It's dangerous, especially when children are involved."

Groulx has several photos on her Facebook page of pit bulls. One image reads "I (heart) my pitbull." Above it is a picture of Logan smiling with his eyes closed, and the caption, "My Baby."

Times researchers Natalie Watson and John Martin contributed to this report, as did Times staff writer Jimmy Geurts.

Contact Caitlin Johnston at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2443. Follow @cljohnst. Contact Weston Phippen at wphippen@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8321. Follow @westonphippen.

Four-year-old mauled to death by uncle's pit bulls in Riverview 07/20/14 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2014 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wrestling to return to old Tampa armory — but just for one night

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the first time in decades, wrestling will return to the old Ft. Homer W. Hesterly Armory with a reunion show scheduled for late September.

    For the first time in decades, wrestling will return to the old Ft. Homer W. Hesterly Armory with a reunion show scheduled for late September.
Now named the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, the armory regularly featured stars such as Dusty Rhodes and Jack Brisco. On September 26, it will host a one-time only reunion night. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times file photo (2016)]
  2. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

    Whistle Stop Bar & Grill is one of the main stops on Main Street in Safety Harbor. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. John Morgan intends to pressure every Florida politician to fund wage initiative

    Blogs

    John Morgan, the publicity-loving personal injury lawyer/entrepreneur who spearheaded the successful medical marijuana initiative, soon plans to start collecting signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative raising Florida minimum wage. He plans to "spend millions of my own money" on the effort, but he also intends to …

  4. Westbound traffic on Courtney Campbell blocked after crash

    Accidents

    Westbound traffic on the Courtney Campbell Causeway is being diverted following a crash early Thursday morning.

  5. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront

    Business

    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]