Parents “awakened by a large amount of motion” in their bedroom find their baby mortally injured by their dog.
Just after 3:15 a.m. on Monday, emergency dispatchers at Hampton Public Safety Communications received a call that a dog had mauled a baby to death at a home in the first block of Scotland Road, a cul-de-sac several blocks west of the Hampton River.
The police found a baby younger than one-year-old with injuries "consistent with a canine attack." The infant was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sgt. Amanda Moreland, in a statement released by The Hampton Police Division, described the night's events:
"The preliminary investigation revealed that the infants’ parents were sleeping in their bed when they were awakened by a large amount of motion. The child’s father observed the extensive injuries to the child and immediately euthanized the canine. The family states that the canine had not been previously aggressive and are fully cooperating with the investigation."
The newborn baby girl had been sleeping in an electronic swing by the parents' bed. But the ensuing commotion “wasn’t normal to an infant,” Moreland said. There was no barking or growling, only a movement on the bed that woke the parents.
It's unclear what triggered the sudden aggression. “It was more than just one dog bite, but it also wasn’t a mauling per see. But also the child was very young, and they’re just more fragile," said Moreland.
The dog was an 8-year-old German Shepherd mix named Lane. The next-door neighbor to the family of the deceased, Ruben Pritchett, said, "It's a good, well-mannered dog, trained and everything. It's a very unfortunate situation, and I send my condolences .... He loved his dog — he was all about his dog. That hurt him as well as losing his daughter ... I feel for him because I have grandkids myself, and several dogs. So I couldn’t imagine anything like that.”
WKTR reports the baby's father euthanized the dog by firearm, and WAVY reports neighbors heard "five or six gunshots." When police arrived, the dog's body was located in the backyard. Animal Control was notified and have taken possession of the deceased canine.
Moreland said there “is nothing that would indicate this was anything other than a tragic accident.” Hampton Police don't anticipate any charges against the parents.
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