Family devastated as week-old baby boy dies after being bitten by pet Jack Russell


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The Independent Online

A baby who was just eight-days old has died after being bitten by his family’s Jack Russell dog.

Harry Harper was rushed to Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital yesterday morning, where he was pronounced dead. His relatives in Ketley, Shropshire, said they were only beginning to come to terms with the tragedy. “As a family we are absolutely devastated by Harry’s death and have no words to describe the loss we have suffered,” a statement said, adding that they wanted to be “left in peace to grieve”.

The dog, which one neighbour described as a “vicious little thing”, has been put down. Officers are investigating the circumstances of the death, but said “initial indications” showed the Jack Russell was to blame.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, of West Mercia Police, said: “It appears that the baby died as a result of a dog bite. A post-mortem will be taking place to establish the exact cause of this baby’s death but at this stage it does appear to be a tragic accident.”

One local resident said: “It’s very, very sad. Losing a baby must be heart-breaking however it happens.”

But Nigel Pitchford, 71, was more condemnatory: “The whole street is shocked to hear what has happened. They only brought the baby home from hospital a few days ago. The dog is only little, but it is very vicious. I tried to post a Christmas card through their letterbox last year and it went for my hand as I posted it through.”

Harry’s mother, Mikayla, 19, was staying at her parents’ house when the attack happened. Just weeks before the 12 November birth she tweeted that her “silly little dog” had ripped the eyes off her teddy bear. It is unclear whether it is the same animal that bit Harry.

The Kennel Club said it was important to ensure children and dogs are supervised at all times: “When a dog is placed in a position which makes it nervous or frightened it can react in a way which we don’t expect which is why never leaving a dog and particularly small children or babies alone together is so important – it has the potential to be dangerous for the child and is unfair on the dog who is generally acting on instinct rather than from malice.”

The Jack Russell’s popularity has soared following the success of the Oscar-winning movie The Artist. The film featured Uggie, a Jack Russell capable of performing tricks.

In another incident involving a Jack Russell in April ,five-year-old Hayley Turner from West Yorkshire suffered a facial wound from a neighbour’s pet.