A four-year-old girl was mauled to death by a family pet in what has been described as a “tragic, isolated incident”.
Thames Valley Police said no arrests have been made and that investigators are working to establish the breed of the dog.
The animal was put down by police on Tuesday evening after officers were called to a house in Broadlands, Netherfield, Milton Keynes, by the ambulance service.
The youngster, who has not yet been formally identified but has been named in reports as Alice Stones, died at the scene.
The end-of-terrace home remained taped off on Wednesday, with a forensic tent by the back garden and a uniformed officer and marked police van at the front of the property.
Giving an update, Superintendent Marc Tarbit said: “The child’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and we’d ask that their privacy is respected.
“An investigation is currently under way to fully understand the circumstances but we currently believe that this was a tragic, isolated incident and there is no threat to the wider community.
“Accordingly, no arrests have been made at this time.
“I can confirm that the dog was a family pet and was put down by police on the scene yesterday evening.”
Our officers remain at the scene of this tragic incident, which has shocked the whole city. If anyone wants to speak to our officers, please feel free to approach them with any questions or concerns that you may have.
Please read our full update ➡️ https://t.co/zoVcdUOgbB
— Thames Valley Police (@ThamesVP) February 1, 2023
Mr Tarbit, local policing area commander for Milton Keynes, said the incident in a back garden – in which no-one else was hurt – was clearly one which had “shocked and upset people” as he urged residents to speak to officers with any questions or concerns.
He also asked the public not to speculate about what had happened and called for the girl’s family’s privacy to be respected.
Neighbour Rita Matthews, 36, said she would see the child while walking her own daughter to school and described the youngster as a “happy little girl, very happy”.
Donna Fuller, a ward councillor for Woughton Community Council, said the area has a “tight-knit community, predominantly families”.
She added there is “such a sense of shock” and it is an “awful situation”.
A vigil is being held at Grand Union Vineyard Church, Netherfield Campus, across the road from the house, at 7pm on Wednesday to “enable the community to come together and draw strength from each other”.
She added: “It will send a strong message to the family that we are thinking of them.”
Floral tributes to the youngster have piled up outside the house, with one of them reading: “Alice!! Fly high with the angels little one. The whole community will miss your smile. Our thoughts are with the whole family, especially her mum.”
Police said there will be an increased presence of officers in the area with “reassurance patrols during early shifts and late shifts”.