In one of the saddest stories reported in a long time, a two-week old baby in Harris County died last week after it was attacked by the family dog.
Law enforcement officials say that on late Saturday evening the two week old was in an infant carrier sitting on the floor. The baby’s mother was directly outside of the house, watching the sleeping baby through a window. The family dog, a Labrador mix, had been closed in another room of the house, but pushed through a pair of French doors to the room where the baby was resting. No one else was in the room.
The Labrador started sniffing around the baby. Much to the mother’s horror, the dog started to maul the baby. According to a spokesman from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, family members quickly rushed into the room and pulled the attacking dog off the infant.
The baby was immediately transported via helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Five hours later, the child died from its injuries.
According to animal behavior specialists, sometimes even dogs with no history of aggressive will suddenly attack when they are placed in a new situation. One dog behavior consultant noted, “When an unfamiliar smelling, wiggling squealing tiny being is left alone they may go to investigate.” She also went on to state that dogs should never be left alone with newborns, “Just like all relationships, a dog needs time to become familiar with the new baby in the home.”
While fatal dog attacks are rare, they do still happen. In 2010, there 33 reported fatal dog attacks in the United States — fifteen of those deaths were of children under the age of 5.
Authorities are still investigating whether the attack was an accident or whether it was due to negligence. The dog has been quarantined while authorities determine its fate.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Newborn dead after family dog attacks,” 9/5/11.