On Sunday morning, up in Yuba County, tragedy struck after a nine-year-old boy was left alone with a trio of pit bulls — a mother and her two one-and-a-half-year-old offspring — and was later found dead from a brutal mauling by the dogs. As the Sacramento Bee reports, Tyler Griffin-Huston, a small blond boy who had recently been bouncing around the foster care system following the death of his mother, was in the care of his 24-year-old sister, Alexandria Griffin-Heady, when the attack occurred, and he had been left alone for several hours in Griffin-Heady's trailer in the town of Linda, near Marysville.

The boy was found dead by his sister at 10 a.m. Sunday, three hours after she had left the trailer for a short shift at her security guard job. One dog, the four-year-old mother, had been loose when Griffin-Heady left the trailer, and the other two dogs were kenneled. It's unclear how the two younger dogs got loose, but it's possible the boy let them out. The family's attorney Roberto Marquez tells KCRA that Griffin-Heady "had no reason to believe that these dogs would pose any threat at all to her younger brother."

The Yuba County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate, and Griffin-Heady could potentially face charges of negligence or child endangerment.

The dogs have been seized by Animal Control and had no local history of violence, but according to the Bee, Griffin-Heady had only recently relocated to the area with the dogs from a hotel in Florida where she had been living. In a message on Facebook several months ago she said she was committed to adopting and raising her young brother, and "shape him into an amazing man."

She was also very in love with her animals as over a dozen YouTube videos attest, including the two below.

Tyler and his sister's mother, Natalie Griffin-Trammell, had a history of drug abuse and died at the age of 44 on the streets of Sacramento in 2011. They have three other siblings ranging in age from 17 to 27, two of whom live on the property where Griffin-Heady's trailer sat, in a home with two adoptive parents.

Tyler's aunt, Laura Badeker, places some of the blame on Child Protective Services, insisting that she had warned them that Griffin-Heady was not capable of caring for the child. "She was trying to rescue him from the system,” Badeker said. “But I told everyone on the team that was supposed to be protecting Tyler that Ali was not prepared to take care of him on any level. They were warned, over and over again."

It's been a long time since we've heard of a story this gruesome and tragic involving a dog mauling. Back in 2010 a two-year-old boy in Concord was killed by the family pit bull when he wandered into a garage on his own. In 2005, a 12-year-old boy was mauled and killed in his family's Sunset district apartment by their two pitbulls, a young male and young female. And of course there was the famous case of Diane Whipple over a decade ago, killed by two Presa Canario dogs in San Francisco, which just came up again recently via the ongoing appeals of convicted dog owner Marjorie Knoller. But as SFist has cautioned before, we don't want to be in the business of vilifying the pit bull breed. All dogs can be unpredictable in the wrong circumstances, and without proper training.

Previously: Woman Attacked By Pit Bull After Rejecting Pawing Dog Owner