A newborn baby was attacked by his family’s Belgian Malinois in South Dakota, according to local law enforcement.
The 6-week-old boy was mauled to death by the family dog on Thursday afternoon at their home in Hartford, about 15 miles northwest of Sioux Falls.
First responders found the child with many bite wounds, the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The newborn was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but he later passed away, said the sheriff’s office.
“It’s a very sad situation,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Zachary Cegelske said to KELO-TV. “It’s a very tragic loss for the family and friends.”
The Siaoux Falls Area Human Society has taken custody of the Belgian Malinois. The identity of the parents and the child has not been publicly disclosed.
“Most dogs and cats bite out of fear,” said Sioux Falls Animal Control Lead Officer Milo Hartson. “They’re just scared of their environment, what’s happening.”
Officials of Sioux Falls Animal Control say they usually see an increase in dog bite incidents during holidays and encourage dog owners to keep their pets in a separate room or a kennel if people are visiting.
One internet user commented: “I’m a dog owner and a huge animal lover in general, but I would never trust a dog to be alone with a baby until at least a couple of years of them being acquianted with each other.
We don’t know enough about what can trigger otherwise loving and friendly dogs to occasionally do the most horrific things to babies.I don’t want to be the one that allows that to happen due to my own negligence. Better safe than sorry.
Don’t worry, your dog won’t be offended.”
Another wrote: “Who leaves a six week old baby within reach of ANY dog?! Malinois are POLICE dogs, not really fit to be a family pet except except with the most careful and experienced dog trainers. The parents should have done better!”
A third said: “Extremely sad and heartbreaking story. Poor lil Angel. Rest in peace”
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