Mother's horror as six-day-old baby Eliza-Mae Mullane is killed in suspected dog attack
Police have not confirmed whether the animal was responsible for the death or the type of injuries sustained by little Eliza-Mae
Wednesday 19 February 2014
Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a six-day-old baby girl, who is thought to have been killed by a family dog at a home in South Wales.
Eliza-Mae Mullane was airlifted to the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff yesterday after what is thought to have been an attack carried out by the family's Alaskan malamute dog.
The dog was seized from the property a force spokeswoman confirmed.
A neighbour of the family, Patricia Punter, 70, has been widely reported as overhearing the baby's mother, who she named as Sharon John, screaming "the dog ate my baby's head".
Dyfed Powys Police said they were called to a property on New Road, in the village of Pontyberem in Carmarthenshire, Wales, at 8.30am on Tuesday morning.
The force has not confirmed whether the animal was responsible for the death or the type of injuries sustained by little Eliza-Mae. Alaskan malamutes are not listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and police have said the investigations are still at an "early stage".
A spokeswoman for Dyfed Powys Police said yesterday: "The police investigation is ongoing. We are not in a position to confirm the exact cause of death or the injuries to the baby at the moment.
"We are not going to speculate on reports from people in the community and we respectfully ask that you wait for the investigation to run its proper course.
"The parents have not been interviewed by the police, this morning arrangements were made for them to be taken to the hospital to be with their baby."
Chief Inspector Ieuan Matthews said: "The baby girl was just six days old.
"Clearly, our sympathies are with the family at this tragic time and we have specialist officers who are supporting them. All I would ask is that you give them time and space to grieve.
"As far as our inquiries are concerned, the investigation is still at an early stage."
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, described the dog as "docile".
She said: "I have been into Sharon's house several times and the dog - it was like a husky - has been there, it doesn't cause any harm.
"There was nothing wrong with that dog. It had been around children for a few years.
"Certainly I had no concerns about it."
The woman said the victim's mother had two other children, a boy and a girl both of school and nursery age.
The victim's mother had lived at the address for around decade, the neighbour said.
The police chief inspector added: "It's a real tragic incident and we are at the early stages of investigating.
"Our hearts, as individuals and as a police service, go out to the family, parents and the wider community.
"We have got specially-trained family liaison officers supporting the family through this very difficult time.
"The little girl is six days old, tragically. As you can imagine, the family are hugely distressed.
"These are tragic circumstances and our hearts go out to everyone involved."
Alaskan Malamutes were originally bred as sled dogs for work in the Arctic, but are now popular as family pets.
The Alaskan Malamute Club of the United Kingdom describes the breed as a "affectionate, friendly, loyal, devoted companion" on its website.
An ideal Alaskan Malamute is "heavily boned, powerfully built", it says.
Alan Lewis, chairman of Pontyberem Community Council, said: "We are only a village of 2,500 to 3,000.
"It is a huge shock for the particular community. Our thoughts go to the family involved, obviously.
"From what I understand, the police are still continuing their investigations and the area is cordoned off."
Mr Lewis described Pontyberem as a "an ex-mining community village".
Caroline Kisko, Secretary of dog welfare organisation the Kennel Club , said: “Our deepest sympathies go to Eliza-Mae Mullane’s family at this tragic time."
"Whilst we do not know the circumstances regarding this terrible incident our general advice to families is to ensure that young children and dogs are always supervised when together, regardless of the breed."
"This is particularly important when a new born baby is brought into a household."
According to reports in the local press copies of The Sun newspaper were pulled from shelves in a newsagent in the grief-stricken village where the incident happened.
The newspaper ran the headline 'the dog ate my baby's head' in large print on the frontpage this morning.
Mid and West AM Simon Thomas told the Llanelli Star he found the front page “nauseating”.
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