Five dogs that mauled a 14-year-old boy to death in Dighton earlier this month will be euthanized, officials ruled Wednesday.
The Dighton Board of Selectmen’s unanimous vote to put down the animals that attacked Ryan Hazel came swiftly and without discussion after a moment of silence for the Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School student killed on May 9.
“We’re a small town with a big heart — that’s not just a slogan, and you people have shown me how important it is that when something like this happens, that we unite and we try to help each other,” Chairman Kenneth Pacheco said. “So I just want to thank all the people in town for all the work that they’ve done.”
According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Ryan was caring for the dogs at a Maple Swamp Road residence while their owner, Scott Dunmore, 49, was in Boston.
The Rehoboth teen was driven to the property by his grandmother, who grew concerned after he did not return to the car, officials said.
A neighbor found Ryan in the backyard “suffering from traumatic injuries,” corralled several dogs, called 911, and performed CPR on the boy, authorities said.
Ryan was later pronounced dead at the scene by first responders. In total, 11 dogs, some in cages, were found on the property, prosecutors said.
Dighton Town Administrator Mallory Aronstein told selectmen that the district attorney, town police department, and animal control officer all agreed that the dogs should be euthanized.
Dunmore was notified and waived his right to a dangerousness hearing, she said.
The dogs include four Belgian Malinoises — a 4-year-old and three that are 8 months old — and one, 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd, according to Pacheco.
He thanked the community for offering its support to Ryan’s parents during “this terrible, terrible time.”
“Dighton’s big heart continues to grieve for Ryan Hazel and his family,” Selectman Nancy Goulart said, fighting tears.