Pitbull Kills 7yo Old Minneapolis Boy.

MINNEAPOLIS - A pit bull attacked and killed a 7-year-old boy Thursday in the basement of the family's north Minneapolis home, police said.

Lt. Amelia Huffman of the Minneapolis Police Department said the boy, identified by his grandfather as Zack King Jr., had gone downstairs to play with the dog when he was attacked and bit in the throat.

The boy's father, Zack King Sr., shot and killed the dog after trying to rescue his son and being severely bitten on the arm, police said.

Another family member called 911 just after 1 p.m. The boy and his father were taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where the youngster was pronounced dead, police said.

The boy's grandfather, Robert Lee King Jr. of Minneapolis, said he was called by the boy's aunt and Zach was being loaded into an ambulance when he arrived.

The male pit bull, whose name was Face, was kept chained in the basement, Robert King said. A female pit bull and five puppies were allowed to roam in the house and didn't participate in the attack, he said. However, animal control officers removed the female dog and puppies from the home.

A state report based on hospital discharge data and medical records from the Minnesota Hospital Association showed a 40 percent reported increase in victims of dog bites seen in hospitals and emergency rooms in the state from 1998 to 2005.

The study, released in June, found that about 3,600 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2005, compared to about 2,600 in 1998. The number of those hospitalized saw a smaller increase, from 89 in 1998 to 95 in 2005.

Three-quarters of the victims were familiar with the attacking dog, the study said.

Dr. Heather Day, an epidemiologist and a co-author of the study, said part of the increase may involve improved record-keeping by hospitals, more hospitals passing on data to the Minnesota Hospital Association and an increase in pet ownership.