Two dogs were shot and fatally wounded by an Anne Arundel County police officer over the weekend after they severely injured a 7-year-old boy.

The dogs, which apparently lived at the house where the incident occurred, were later euthanized by the county animal control department, police said.

Officers were sent about 5:30 p.m. Saturday to the 3400 block of Barnsley Court in Pasadena, where they were told that a woman and her nephew were being mauled, police said.

An officer saw the two under attack on a back porch. The dogs were described as American bulldogs. References characterize them as stocky and muscular, sometimes territorial, but usually not aggressive.

In a statement, police said the officer “was forced to shoot” one dog “to prevent further injury to the woman or the child.”

As the officer began to examine their wounds, the second dog lunged at all three, police said.

The officer shot the second dog to protect himself and the two other people, police said.

Police said the dogs began attacking the boy in the house. His aunt grabbed him and fled. But, police said, the dogs followed and continued attacking.

The child was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said, but news media accounts indicated that he was improving.

Police said the woman suffered minor injuries but refused treatment. It was not clear whether the child lived at the house. Neighbors said they understood that he was visiting.