I'm going to start with noting that all dog bite fatalities are tragic. But they are exceedingly rare -- with only about 25-30 happening each year in spite of there being over 78 million owned dogs in this country. However, they can and do happen, andwhen they do, it is usually a tragic set of circumstances that led up to the incident.
This case is no different.
In Beaverdam, OH, a 3 day old infant, Makayla Darnell, was tragically bitten by the family dog. The child was left in a swing while the parents were in another room. The dog was left alone with the infant, and apparently bit the child in the head. The child died of injuries 5 hours later. The dog is said to "look like a pit bull mix".
While some are taking this as some type of vicious attack, it certainly doesn't seem like one. A 3 day old toddler would be very fragile and the fact that the child lived for several hours sure sounds more like a tragic "bite" than an "attack" -- and such a bite could have even come with the dog trying to pick the toddler up. There would be no wonder that the dog would be interested in the infant as the child had only been in the home for less than 2 days -- and this new smelling, living thing would be of interest to any dog. Unfortunately, this dog's interest ended up causing a fatal wound on the young child.
All of this is why it is imperative for new parents with young children to a) get some support even before birth for them and their dog prior to the child being born to help learn easy tips to acclimate the dog with the child -- I always recommend Family Paws as an outstanding resource for this and b) to always, ALWAYS supervise a dog and child's interactions for the first 5-6 years of life to have adult supervision to be sure nothing bad happens. If a parent cannot be there to watch the child and dog, then they should use baby gates, crates and doors to separate the two. I always wish the news media, and commenters, would focus more on this type of education when reporting stories instead of acting as if the dog's breed had anything to do with it.
It's a tragic incident -- but easily preventable and one that was done by a dog that likely wasn't even really aggressive.
My heart goes out to this family as they deal with this horrible time.
This story was picked up by over 250 media outlets from across the nation.