A six-week-old baby boy was mauled to death by the family's pet dog in South Dakota. The newborn baby was attacked by the pet dog, a Belgian Malinois, on Thursday afternoon at a home in the 900 block of Trojan Avenue, in Hartford, South Dakota.

The child suffered severe bite wounds and was immediately flown by helicopter to a hospital for emergency treatment. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries, the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

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"It is a very sad situation", said Sgt. Zachary Cegelske of the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Department. He called the incident a "very tragic loss for the family and friends", KELO-TV reported.

Why Did The Dog Bite The Infant?

Although investigators are still working on determining what prompted the dog to bite, the Sioux Falls Animal Control, which isn't part of the investigation, said that dogs biting newborns is not uncommon. It said that any animal can bite and most dogs and cats bite out of fear, Sioux Falls Animal Control Lead Officer Milo Hartson said.

They often bite when they get scared of the environment, of what's happening. Also, no one can anticipate when an animal might bite. "It's just one of those things", Hartson said. He cautioned everyone to be careful and has advised pet owners to keep their animals separated from people they're unfamiliar with.

Officials at the Sioux Falls Animal Control have said that they see an increase in the cases of dog bites during holidays. So with the Fourth of July coming up, it has advised pet owners to keep their dogs in a kennel, or a separate room if there will be a lot of people visiting then.

The Belgian Malinois who mauled the new-born is with the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society as the investigators are determining what led to the infant's death. The identities of both the baby and his family have not been revealed.