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Tragedy Strikes as Dog Fatally Attacks Five-Week-Old Baby Taken From Mother’s Arms


A mother discovered her five-week-old son had been taken from her arms and fatally injured by the family’s American Staffordshire terrier. She immediately alerted her husband, saying, ‘The dog has the baby.’

The intense situation was described on Monday at the NSW Coroner’s Court inEur Sydney’s west, where an investigation is underway into seven deadly dog attacks that took place between 2019 and 2021. 

Coroner Carmel Forbes is looking into the details of the attacks, such as the types of animals involved and how councils and regulatory bodies have responded to these incidents.

The initial fatality under investigation occurred due to an assault on a five-week-old infant in regional NSW in 2021. 

Court orders have been issued to prohibit the disclosure of the victim’s name or any details that could reveal his parents’ identity.  

The court was informed by David Kell SC, who is assisting the coroner, that the baby’s father had a six-year-old dog he thought was an American Staffordshire terrier.

In June 2015, he purchased the dog for $500 after seeing an advertisement for a litter of seven puppies of that breed.

The dog had been microchipped and registered as an American Staffordshire terrier, but the court heard there were suggestions it was at least part American pit bull.

Dog in Tragic Infant Incident Previously Fatally Attacked Cocker Spaniel: Concerns Arise

A Cocker Spaniel named Finya, trains to recognise the scent of certain species using a “Scentbox” during a demonstration by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn on October 26, 2021, in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany.

Back in June 2021, just five weeks before the tragic incident involving the infant boy, the same dog had fatally attacked a cocker spaniel on a nearby property.

There were no witnesses to that incident, but Dr. Kell mentioned that a ranger who responded to the attack believed the dog had pulled the cocker spaniel through a hole in a fence and killed it in the backyard.

The ranger also thought the dog could have been a pit bull or pit bull-cross, judging by its yellow eyes, liver-colored nose, and white tips on its paws.

The parents, described as excellent tenants by their landlord, were not home at the time because the mother had recently given birth to their first child. 

The golden dog, who snoozed in the family’s main bedroom, had never been involved in any incidents of aggression towards other animals or people. 

The council ranger testified in court that the mother’s mother had referred to the pet as ‘a people dog’.

Due to concerns that the dog may have some pit bull in its lineage, the owner received a notification to classify it as a restricted dog.

This statement implies that the dog must be confined in a secure enclosure and wear a muzzle while on a leash, chain, or cord when outside of the enclosure.

The owner had 28 days to demonstrate that the animal was not a restricted breed and received a two-week extension following the birth of the boy.

Five weeks after the cocker spaniel passed away, the parents were enjoying a football game and some music in their house.

The father drifted off to sleep on the lounge, and the tired young mother nodded off in a rocking chair, cradling the baby in her arms. 

The father later informed the police that he woke up to his partner in tears, exclaiming, ‘The dog has the baby’.

“She woke up and realized the baby’s not there,” he said. Upon entering the room, she discovered the baby lying on the floor.

The mother urgently instructed the father to call for an ambulance. Paramedics arrived but were unable to revive the boy, who had sustained several puncture wounds.

The police observed the dog in the backyard with blood on its snout. It seemed like the dog had grabbed the baby from the chair. 

When questioned about any previous problems with the dog, the mother informed the authorities that she had been cautious ever since bringing her newborn son home from the hospital.

The dog was put to sleep and it was determined that the boy’s death was caused by chest trauma consistent with a dog attack.

The dog’s death certificate initially identified it as a pit bull, but was later corrected to American Staffordshire terrier based on information from the local council.

The ranger informed the court that she did not think about confiscating the dog following the incident with the cocker spaniel.

The ranger mentioned that she observed minimal distinction between American Staffordshire terriers and pit bulls in terms of their likelihood to attack or the seriousness of the injuries they could cause.

Ms Forbes will investigate topics such as how the breed of dogs is determined and how it impacts restrictions on their ownership.

Dr Kell emphasized that the purpose of the investigation was not to assign legal responsibility for any of the deaths, but to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. 

In NSW, the law did not specify how to differentiate a pit bull from other similar breeds, while in Victoria, the physical characteristics of pit bulls were officially listed.  

The individual mentioned that inquiries might come up regarding determining if a dog was part of a restricted breed. The investigation is ongoing.

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