A baby girl has been mauled to death at home by a dog which was bought just a week ago, police have said.
Merseyside Police said officers received a report that a child had been attacked by a dog at an address on Bidston Avenue in Blackbrook, St Helens at around 3.50pm on Monday afternoon.
Emergency services attended and the 17-month-old was taken to hospital where she died from her injuries.
The force added the dog was handed over to police at the address and has been destroyed. Police are investigating whether the dog was an illegal breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Officers remained at the scene on Bidston Avenue this morning and extensive CCTV, witness, and house-to-house enquiries are being carried out.
Neighbours in Blackbrook spoke of their shock after the 17-month-old died of her injuries following Monday’s attack.
Joanne Matthews, 53, said: ‘She was such a beautiful little girl, toddling about. I’d see the family in passing, just to say hello, and they were always very pleasant.’
Ms. Matthews said she saw an ambulance outside the house in Bidston Avenue and then about 10 police vehicles arrive. She said: ‘I saw them bring the dog out. I couldn’t tell what breed it was but from the back, it looked like a Staffordshire bull terrier or pit bull.’
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she got home from the shops at about 4.30pm when the area was busy with police.
She said: ‘The mum was on the field at the front of the house crying. She was hysterical.
‘It is usually very quiet here and safe for children, but when you hear something like this has happened it is so distressing.’
Detective Inspector Lisa Milligan said: ‘This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the child’s family at this devastating time. The little girl’s parents and wider family are absolutely devastated and our specialist Family Liaison Officers are providing them with support at this horrendous time.
‘Whilst we are in the very early stages of the investigation into this extremely tragic incident we can confirm that the dog was only bought by the family a week ago and officers are working to identify the previous owners of the dog concerned and establish its history.
‘Our officers will remain on Bidston Avenue this evening and in the coming days to provide reassurance to the local community and we will work tirelessly to establish the full circumstances.
‘If you were in the Bidston Avenue area this afternoon and witnessed anything, or have any information about the dog in question then please come forward speak to one of our officers.
‘Our officers take the issue of dangerous dogs very seriously. Over the past years, we have worked proactively with the five local authorities in Merseyside to ensure prohibited dogs are taken off the streets.’
Source: Daily Mail