TECUMSEH, Okla. (KFOR) — An Oklahoma toddler is in the hospital after he was mauled by a pit bull Friday night, Tecumseh police said. 

“I’ve seen dog bites in the past and experience some pretty brutal dog bites with children but never a complete amputation,” said Chief JR Kidney, with the Tecumseh Police Department. 

When an officer arrived at the home of 4-year-old Axel Foster’s grandparents, he found the grandmother in the driveway with the child. The boy was missing his right arm just below the shoulder, police said. 

The officer began applying a tourniquet from his vest. Tecumseh firefighters also arrived and assisted.

“What if he doesn’t make it through?” Axel’s mom, Destiny McDow, recalled saying after learning of the accident.

Axel’s grandmother told police the incident happened when the little boy put his hand inside a pen that held several dogs to pet some puppies.

“The child’s arm was still in the pen,” said Kidney. “When officers and animal control attempted to retrieve the arm, the dog became aggressive to them.”

Officer Aaron McCormick said in a police report, “I could see the arm inside, and one of the puppies was trying to chew on it.”

Axel’s mother told KFOR he was taken to a hospital to have his arm reattached.

“We raced to the hospital. When we got there, the nurses confirmed his arm was dismembered from his body,” said McDow. “I don’t know what he’s going through. I never went through it. But he’s only a child.” 

Unfortunately, Axel’s mom said, the surgery to reattach her son’s arm was unsuccessful.

“To be over just an innocent type thing of wanting to pat some puppies, it’s just devastating,” said Kidney. “What kind of Christmas is this child gonna have now? What kind of life, in general, is this child gonna have now?”

The chief told KFOR that the dog had to be put down. It was shot and killed. 

Tecumseh Police Department and the Department of Human Services are trying to determine if Axel was being supervised at the time.

If not, Kidney said, the grandparents could face child neglect charges.

“I’m hoping it was simply an accident that the child was able to get to the pen, but we will look at everything,” Kidney said.