'Mild-Mannered' Family Dog Killed Baby Boy

'Mild-Mannered' Family Dog Killed Baby Boy

A mother whose eight-day-old son died after being bitten by the family dog has told an inquest of her shock at the attack, saying the Jack Russell was "mild-mannered".

Mikayla Bell, 19, said the seven-year-old dog called PJ had never been aggressive towards children, adults or other dogs.

Miss Bell, whose son was in his cot when he was bitten, said she didn't "blame anyone" for what had happened but that it "was a really tragic accident".

She said that she had been upstairs at the family home in Ketley, Shropshire, while her mother had been caring for her son, Harry Harper, downstairs.

The sales assistant said she had been woken by an alarm at 6.30am on November 20 but shortly afterwards heard her mother, Teresa, screaming and shouting.

In a statement to Telford Coroner's Court, Miss Bell said: "I immediately ran downstairs and saw mum holding Harry over the sink.

"Mum was repeatedly saying 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' and I heard mum say 'He's been bitten'. I think at some point mum said it was PJ that had bitten him."

Harry was pronounced dead in hospital around 90 minutes later.

Miss Bell said: "I feel angry about what happened but I don't blame anyone. I am shocked to know it was PJ because he wasn't vicious at all."

Her mother said in her statement: "I know it was a tragic accident but I will always wonder if I could have done something differently that morning."

The inquest was told that the dog had not followed Miss Bell's mother into the kitchen but remained in the sitting room where he attacked the baby, who was sleeping in a cot.

Detective Inspector Phil Shakesheff told the inquest that the family had an "unblemished history" of caring for dogs over a period of many years and that neither PJ nor the family's German Shepherd had previously displayed signs of dangerous behaviour.

He said: "There is no evidence to suggest that the death of Harry is anything other than a tragic incident that can't be ruled out from occurring in any other dog-owning household where children are present."

The inquest heard dogs had killed six children and two adults around the country since 2007.

Telford's Assistant Deputy Coroner Andrew Barkley, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He praised the family for their dignity and said: "One can only hope that if anything positive can come out of what has been a deeply distressing case, it's that the public recognise the dangers associated with babies and small children being around dogs."

After the hearing, the family released a statement saying: "As a family, we remain absolutely devastated by Harry's death.

"Although he was only with us for eight days, he had brought enormous happiness to us all and his loss is a tragedy that we will carry with us forever.

"We will treasure every single moment we enjoyed of him and we will never forget the joy he gave us when he arrived."

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes