Late yesterday afternoon, 21 month old Monica Laminack was attacked and killed by 7 of 9 dogs that lived at the family's home in Ellabell, GA.
The child lived in the home with her 18 year old Mother, Summer Laminack, grandmother, great-grandmother and two uncles (aged 14 and 12).
Apparently, after getting home from the store last night and according to police "they all went to sleep or something" shortly after 5 pm. Around 6:30, the grandmother awoke due to a disturbance in the yard and went outside to find the toddler being attacked by the dogs. Apparently why all three adults slept in the house, the toddler crawled through the doggie door and went into the backyard with at least 7 of the dogs unattended.
There were 9 dogs at the home, one described as an Irish Setter, one as a Beagle and 7 as 'pit bulls or pit mixes'. One of the dogs is older and the mother of the other 6 -- who were all born about 18 months ago. No word on whether one of the other dogs was the father or not. As of right now, the 7 'pit bulls' are being blamed for the attack (and were euthanized at the scene), the other two are not believed to have been involved.
Emergency responders were called but the child was declared dead at the scene and had reportedly been dead for awhile.
According to the county Sheriff, Clyde Smith, he thought child neglect charges were a minimum of what could be filed in the case. The Bryan County District Attorney Tom Durden said the charges would likely be second-degree felony child cruelty.
I'm sure there will be more that comes out about this story in the coming days and I'lll continue to post updates as they become available.
Attacks like this are very rare in a nation where nearly 40% of us share homes with dogs, and where there are 75 million owned dogs. But like all things in life, there is some risk (even though it's minor). This is the 7th fatal attack of this year, and the 3rd involving a toddler that has wandered into a group of dogs without any adult supervision. There is no shortage of tragedies that can await a young toddler who wanders outside of his home unattended and unsupervised -- and the problems with doggie doors being an escape route for toddlers is well documented. I cannot stress enough how important it is for adults to supervise their youngsters at all times and to definitely supervise all interactions between young children and dogs.
As for other societal factors, clearly there are some issues here that present some red flags, including a very young mother for this victim who is really just still a child herself, and four generations of people living under the same roof. The zip code in which Ellabell is located isn't necessarily a low-income one, however, according to census data, the zip code lost 55% of its total residents between 2000 and 2010 going from 6,444 population to 2,916. It's a very rural, unincorporated area.
This story has been widely published and picked up by more than 50 news outlets.
My heart goes out to the family in this incident and I will update as more information becomes available.