Family speaks after dog kills baby girl

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The family of a baby girl who died after being attacked by a dog have been left “devastated”, police have said.

A relative who was looking after the six-month-old child also suffered bite wounds as she tried to wrestle the animal off the infant.

Police and paramedics were called to the address in Daventry, Northamptonshire, at 10.30pm on Friday night, where they tried to resuscitate the infant.

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The six-month-old was taken to Northampton General Hospital where she was confirmed dead, Northamptonshire Police said.

The dog was destroyed at the scene. Northamptonshire Police said they “cannot confirm the breed of dog” at this stage.

But experts will carry out tests early next week to determine exactly what kind of dog it was.

Detective Sergeant Gary Baker, who is leading the investigation, said: “This was a deeply distressing and tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family who have been left devastated by the events of last night.

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“Incidents such as these are extremely rare in this country, but that will be of little comfort to the relatives of this tragically young victim.

“The family have requested that they be left to grieve at this difficult time.”

Daventry Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris said the officers who went to the scene in Morning Star Road were left traumatised at the “horrific incident” they witnessed.

He said: “Obviously my thoughts and prayers are with the family. I would especially like to thank the officers who attended the scene.

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“I understand they attempted to revive the baby girl and are badly affected by what they experienced.”

Mr Heaton-Harris was speaking after he had been briefed on the attack by the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds.

It is understood the force have dealt with 62 instances of attacks involving dogs in the past two years.

The tragedy has sparked calls for new, tougher rules to be put in place to prevent potentially dangerous dogs from being housed in family homes.

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Chris Over, a Conservative councillor on Daventry District Council, said the death was a “wake-up call” to bring back dog licensing.

He said: “This is shocking. This is a terrible situation - the trauma for the family must be awful and our hearts go out to them.

“It is a wake-up call for people to make certain that when they select a dog it is a breed that has a good reputation and that they are able to control the dog.

“It seems like this dog couldn’t be controlled and restrained by the relative who intervened.

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“This tragedy highlights that responsible dog ownership is something we must encourage.

“There have been a number of incidents like this around the country in recent times. It seems to me that there should be some kind of legislation in place. Dog licences would mean that hopefully only responsible people would own dogs.”

Dog owners in Britain used to be required to have a licence but they were widely ignored and eventually abolished in 1987.