‘He was such a great kid’: Friends remember 14-year-old killed in Dighton dog mauling

Ryan Hazel was killed on Thursday night when he went to take care of animals while their owner was away.

Property owned by Scott Dunmore in Dighton, MA on May 10, 2019.
The property owned by Scott Dunmore in Dighton where 14-year-old Ryan Hazel was fatally mauled by dogs last week. –Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe

Green was Ryan Hazel’s favorite color.

To honor the 14-year-old, who was fatally mauled by dogs he was caring for at a Dighton home last week, the teen’s classmates at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School wore green on Monday in his memory.

Ryan, who was a member of the school’s freshman football and track teams, was a “loved member” of the student body, the school said in a statement. Counselors will be on hand at the high school to offer help to students coping with their classmate’s death.

Emily Tripp told WHDH she isn’t sure how to process her fellow student’s death.

Advertisement

“It’s not something you’d think would happen around here, especially someone so young,” she told the station.

Classmate Shaun Conklin said students are looking for ways to honor Ryan.

“We’re trying to start things, make bracelets, shirts,” he told WHDH. “You know, it’s just, it’s random. He’s been working with the dogs over a year. He was such a great kid.”

The Bristol District Attorney’s office says the 14-year-old was driven Thursday night to care for dogs and other animals at a property on Maple Swamp Road while the owner, identified as 49-year-old Scott Dunmore, was in Boston. Ryan had been helping care for the animals on the property on a regular basis, working with Dunmore, for about a year.  

According to the DA’s office, when the 14-year-old did not return to the car in the time he usually conducted his tasks at the property, his grandmother became concerned.

A neighbor found Ryan in the backyard “suffering from traumatic injuries,” along with four dogs running loose. He was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.

“Things like that should never happen to anybody, never mind a 14-year-old boy,” Dighton Police Chief Robert MacDonald told reporters at a press conference on Friday.

Advertisement

Authorities said there were seven other dogs found inside the home at the time of the incident. All 11 of the dogs have been removed from the property, and the four animals — described as Belgian Malinoises and Dutch Shepherds — that were found outside with Ryan are in quarantine.

The dogs were not licensed with the town, the DA’s office said.

Ryan was in the high school’s community health program, according to the district. A GoFundMe fundraiser for his family raised more than $36,000 in two days.

The page was started by Jane Danek of Kingston, New Jersey, who has a dog that was trained by the Hazel family, according to MassLive. Ryan’s parents run Wolf Plain Brooks Kennel in Rehoboth, the publication reports.

Scores of people left messages of condolences and remembrances of Ryan on the page for the online fundraiser.

“Ryan you will be deeply missed and shop class will not be the same without you,” Taylor Johnson wrote.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the Hazel family,” Ellen D’Ambruoso commented. “We only met Ryan a couple times when visiting and taking home our dog Heidi, but we remember [him] as a sweet, kind and fun-loving boy.”

The attack remains under investigation. The Bristol DA’s office said Dunmore is cooperating with authorities and that foul play is not suspected. 

Close

Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.