Local News

7-year-old killed in Robeson County dog attack

Posted January 24, 2016
Updated January 26, 2016

— One child was killed and his brother was injured after a Sunday dog attack in Robeson County.

Family members told WRAL News that 7-year-old Talen West and 8-year-old Jaylen West were playing in the woods near a home at 2484 Odum Road in Lumberton late Sunday morning when they encountered a neighbor’s pit bull.

The dog attacked both children. Emergency crews were called at about 11:20 a.m. and they found Talen West unresponsive upon arrival. The brothers were taken to Southeastern Medical Center, where Talen West died.

Authorities said he had severe puncture wounds on his body.

Jaylen West was treated for leg injuries and released.

Distraught family members said that the dog had no known history of violent tendencies when he turned on them.

“Everybody is just sad and under a lot of stress right now,” said the boy’s cousin Devin West.

Devin West said that the older brother tried to fight the dog off of his younger sibling, but was unsuccessful.

“His little brother had a machete or hatchet or something and got the dog off of him, but it was too late,” he said “He got him by his neck and broke his neck.”

The dogs belong to Afreda Locklear. Spencer Oxendine, Locklear's brother, spoke to WRAL News and said one of the dogs recently had a litter of puppies.

Robeson County sheriff’s deputies are investigating to determine what may have provoked the dog and whether charges will be filed.

“It’s a tough investigation, especially when you lose a child,” said Sheriff Kenneth Sealey.

Family members said the dog died at the scene, possibly from exhaustion or a heart attack.


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  • Leigha Petrov Jan 27, 2016
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  • Catherine West Jan 26, 2016
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    There is a GOFUNME page to help the family with funeral expenses if anyone would like to help. https://www.gofundme.com/4ph8vus8

  • Pam Snyder Jan 26, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    I agree. It isn't the breed most time it's the owners of the animals. ALL dogs should be able to be contained in their yards and not be free roaming. I even keep my mixed German and Australian shepherd on a leash or in her pen which is high enough for her not to escape.

  • William James Jan 26, 2016
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    Sure plenty of Pit Bulls are fine pets, but their genetics gives them the ability to inflict injury and death and no one, not even the Dog Whisper can predict an animals behavior, he gets bitten all the time. Note, this is the 2nd person killed in this county by a Pit in the past year.

  • Benjamin Kite Jan 26, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    I agree, I seriously doubt any of the interested parties commenting on this article actually believe that any dog died at the scene..............of "exhaustion or heart attack"? That this is the cause of death given, naturally aggravates any reader's suspicion that there is some misdirection going on here. That concern is NOT a defense of the dog, but it IS a legitimate challenge of WRAL's reporting.

  • Dale Xavier Jan 26, 2016
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    Shayne Aldridge, here is what I do know, and I don't need google to find it. Your nitpicking cheerleading about pit bulls comes across as pathetic while a 7 year old boy lies dead in his coffin due to the breed that you love so much. People like YOU are the reason that these mutts are still allowed to maim and kill on almost a daily basis.

  • Shayne Aldridge Jan 26, 2016
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    Oh, and another little nugget for you. Google bans on other "potentially dangerous" breeds. You'll find a lot of the same restrictions and bans on them too. Stop trying to make things one sided with incomplete information. Its obvious an argumet with you is rather pointless so I'm quite finished now. Happy Googling!

  • Shayne Aldridge Jan 26, 2016
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    Dale, I'm quite disappointed. As much as you worship what Google says (if it's on the internet it has to be true) I would have expected better research out of that useless part about country bans. While there are quite a few that do ban them, read more into it and there are quite a few that do not. There is a difference between "ban" and "restriction". Ownership is restricted and certain guidelines have to be met. Actually guidelines that responsible owner of any dog in any country should adhere to. Also there is a difference between the being "banned" and "banned from importation". Meaning people can't bring them into the country, but ones already in the country can exist also while adhering to guidelines. Guess you're right about Google. It is a wonderful tool when used to shoot down bias uninformed people. Stick with Dogsbite. You we're having better luck there.

  • Geneva Smith Jan 26, 2016
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    Lets not forget, this conversation was going on about another 4 year old little boy killed by a pit just a few months ago, its good to talk about it but we need to take action as well. I don't want to read about this again in a few months, its time for(more) regulations on large dogs. People need to be more responsible for these dog's actions.
    My sympathies and prayers for the young boy's family.

  • Susan Mooney Jan 25, 2016
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    There was a horrific death to a child and the family deserves compassion, not bs from those that want to make it a dog vs. child. Be responsible for your dogs, if not don't have one.