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CALDWELLCOUNTY, N.C. -- An 18-month-old boy was mauled to death by the family dog, and now animal control officers are trying to figure out what happened.

Just before 8 p.m. Sunday, Kings Creek Fire Department, Caldwell County EMS, Caldwell County Animal Control and the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a home in the Kings Creek area of Caldwell County.

Nyhiem Wilfong and a 5-year-old cousin were playing in their grandfather's backyard Sunday night.

He always wanted to go wherever I went, I'm just gonna miss him, gonna miss him and stuff, said Ervin Patterson, the Grandfather.

His dog Kobe, a 100 pound Rottweiler, was chained up, and the children went to play with him, as they had done so many times before.

The dog grabbed the child by the head, from what we re understanding. Now you take a 1-year-old child with a dog that big, it doesn't take a whole lot of pressure for that dog to do some damage, said Greg Greene, who heads Caldwell County Animal Control.

The toddler was taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital for treatment, where he later died.

Greene says Kobe has not been the least bit aggressive since the attack.

The dog has been placed in the animal shelter, and officials tell NBCCharlotte the dog's owner will have the opportunity to claim the dog, provided it is kept in an enclosure. If the dog's owner does not reclaim it, the dog may be put down.

The boy's grandfather told NBCCharlotte's Glenn Counts that several of his grandchildren spend time at his home, and that the dog has never acted like this before. The children were outside unsupervised.

Nobody knows exactly what happened. I don't think we'll ever have an answer as to what happened, he said.

The Sheriff's Office, Animal Control, and the Department of Social Services are investigating the attack. Authorities will submit their findings to the District Attorney's Office to determine if charges will be filed.

The Sheriff has expressed his sympathies to the family as they try and cope with their loss.

You know I feel like God wanted him more, he let us have him for a little while, but he wanted him more and it's going to be ok, said Elise Smith, the victim's aunt.

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