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Baby Killed by Family Dog

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Are dogs a danger to kids?

Chow dog

Last week, a 2-week-old baby was killed after being attacked by the family dog. The baby's mother told police she had placed the infant in a bassinet about 7 p.m. to use the bathroom. She returned to find the child with severe head injuries. When paramedics arrived, the baby was unresponsive and pronounced dead. The dog (a Chow) was later euthanized.

The CDC estimates that almost 5 million people a year are bitten by dogs in the United States, with as many as 800,000 people, more than half of them children, requiring medical attention for their dog bites. Many of these cases are fatal, or leave kids disfigured for life.

Here are a few other cases that sent shivers down our spine:

  • 3-year-old Tony Evans was found dead in front of the doghouse after being attacked by a pit bull. The pit bull was chained to the house, but made its way to the boy.
  • 5-year-old Pablo Hernandez was mauled to death by the family pit bull in their backyard. He was dragged around the backyard, suffering major damage to his face, head and torso and died shortly after from his injuries.
  • 1-year-old Abraham Jonathan Tackett wandered into the neighbor's backyard where several husky mixed breeds were eating. The father found the child as he was being attacked, but could not save him. According to reports, the dog that attacked was protecting his food.
  • 2-year-old Holden Jernigan was attacked and killed by the family's pit bull. While under his grandmother's care, he wandered into the backyard where he was brutally attacked.
  • 6-year-old Sabin Jones-Abbott was attacked by the family's new pit bull/boxer mix as he went to feed it. The boy's father found his lifeless body in their home.
  • 15-month-old Charlotte Blevins was seriously injured when she and her mom, her mom's friend, and another baby on an afternoon walk were attacked by a pit bull when the dog escaped from its leash.
  • 2-year-old Amaya Hess had a pit bull latch on to her head with his mouth for 5 to 8 minutes. The claw end of a hammer was used to open the dog's jaw to release her. Amaya's scalp was missing, her right eye out of its socket and her right ear was torn from the side of her head. After 9 surgeries and 69 days of medically-induced coma, Amaya is facing years of reconstructive surgery. Doctors estimate she'll have somewhere between 30 to 40 surgeries over her lifetime.

Are dogs safe for kids?

We spoke with Colleen Lynn, founder of, who said some are -- and some aren't. "There are aggressive breeds of dogs, including pit bulls and rottweillers, that I don't think are appropriate to have around children. They don't have a good safety record, and you are definitely taking a chance."

Lynn, who survived a pit bull attack herself a year ago, says even going to someone's house who has a pit bull or a dangerous breed is a unnecessary risk for your children. "These dogs were bred for violence," she says. "It's in their genes. Even if they have good owners, love is not going to take genetics away. Why take the chance, if it could cost your kid his or her life?"

Of course, some dog owners (particularly pit bull owners) disagree. One mother named Elyse posted the following video of her baby Max with her pit bull on YouTube:

Whether you are pro-dog or anti-dog, everyone agrees you should never leave a baby or small child unattended with a dog under any circumstances (even if it's the family pet). For more dog bite prevention tips, click here.

Do you think dogs are dangerous for kids?

next: Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend!
26 comments so far | Post a comment now
sue davis March 9, 2009, 8:45 AM

I was attacked by a pit bull as I walked in a vet’s office once years ago. My puppy standard poodle made the horrible mistake of taking one sniff of that dog that was on a thick chain for a leash. The dog went for my neck.. he got my sleeve of my shirt which ripped off my shirt! Thankfully, my son and his little friend who came with us, were ahead of our dog and me. My dog took cover in front of me while I screamed over and over again, “Oh my GOD!” The owner, a big man, had to fall on top of his dog with all of his body to get it to stop. It was very frightening and I am completely amazed that it didn’t get to my skin or my dog. I will never walk into a vets office again without peaking in first now. AND, I can never trust a pit bull! ever.
I think people are crazy to have a pit in their home with a baby! there are so many people who want killer dogs and do NOT train them so they are not. They may love adults, but they really hate other dogs. My sis in law had hers in our home during a visit. Again, that dog was a totally different, defensive dog in our home of two dogs.. the standard and our little peekapoo. He almost attacked our dogs. She was terribly surprised, we were not.

Gigohead  March 9, 2009, 10:21 AM

Chows are known not to be too kind to kids. My neighbor had one and she would caution my young son not to approach him. It was strange request because he looked so tame and gentle but in fact she told me they can be quite unpredictable.

mariah March 9, 2009, 11:55 AM

Some dogs are just not ideal to have around kids, weather it’s a pit bull, a chow or a mix. It depends on the dog—My children can poke my dogs eyes out and they will just lay there and let them do it. I’m one of those bad moms and I have left my children alone with the dogs since they were born.

Scatteredmom March 9, 2009, 11:59 AM

While the stories are horrific, I think what it really comes down to is the responsibility of the parents AND the dog owners to protect their charges from each other. Dogs may be domesticated but they still are animals, have instincts, and therefore can be unpredictable. Parents should never leave young kids alone with a dog-it may be a family pet, but it’s still an animal and some have more aggressive instincts then others. My step daughter runs a kennel and says that the wiener dogs are the WORST for biting people. Go figure!

Small kids are also unpredictable to animals, and don’t often realize that they are bothering the dog. One rule I always had for Jake was, “If you want to pet dogs or babies, ask the owner!”. People always appreciated it and let us know immediately if the dog was known to be nippy.

Anon March 9, 2009, 12:56 PM

The reason dogs attack is not the DOG’S fault, it’s the owner’s fault for being an irresponsible pet owner and not comprehending the natural pack mentality of a dog. I get SO SO angry when the media says pit bull attacks, chow attacks, etc…

The headings should be ‘another dog owner with an untrained dog allowed their dog around their kid causing disaster.’

Of course blame the ‘animal’ right, who wants to take responsibility for being a bad example of a pet owner.

These dogs simply were NOT trained the proper heierarchy of the ‘pack’.

You can not take pack mentality out of a dog, it is instinct. Which is why dog owners need to be a pack LEADER.

Many people have dogs their whole life, the dog goes for walks, sleeps in the bed, is pampered and loved, then the people have a baby. Often the people push the dog aside when this happens.

The dog, that used to get walks is now left home when the stroller goes on a walk. The dog who used to sleep in the bed is now left in the back yard while baby is in his spot. The dog is naturally confused because owners do not properly introduce the new ‘pack member’. He now sees the baby as trying to take his place in the pecking order, which can indeed lead to attack as it is the ‘weakest’ member of the pack.


Dog owners need to reinforce that the dog still maintains his status in the pack. Instead of shoving the dog aside and say ‘get away from baby’ or feeding baby before the dog (which both of these the dog sees the baby trying to take his place in the pack) the dog owner needs to walk in the door and lavish the dog with love, still feed the dog first in the morning/at dinner and still let the dog sleep in the bed vs kicking him to the floor so baby can take his place.

Dog owners simply must see it from the DOG’S eyes.

When the child gets older, the child needs to be taught to be a leader within the pack. The dog also needs to be taught to respect the child and accept the child as a pack leader.

I had a 180 mastiff who was a gentle giant, I never ever worried he would hurt my child because he was fully trained and trained properly. He knew I was boss. I could stick my hand in his bowl, my face in his bowl and I could take a dog bone out of his mouth with my teeth. My baby was feeding him cheerios at 1 yr old when she was a mere 18# and telling him to sit and stay and shake at 18 mo old. He knew she was boss!

If any of you are afraid to do this with YOUR dog, then keep your dog away from your kids.

They put the chow down, yes, it’s horrible but the dog killed a baby. But the owner did not train his dog.

Actually, in all of the cases in the article above, it was dog instinct and human error that resulted in the horrid attacks.

It’s NOT dogs, it’s owners. Plain and simple.

Ask Cesar Milan (dog whisperer), who has about 50 pit bulls and rottweilers living side by side.

People need to be aware that most attacks are NOT done by Pit Bulls. When pit bulls attack, the are more likely to be fatal attacks due to the structure of the jaw and the vigerous shaking. In reality the dogs that attack MOST are actually labradors, german shepards and other ‘safe’ breeds. (also toy breeds like poodle, pug, chihuahua, pom, etc.. are more prone to ‘bite’) Again, due to poor human up bringing.

News is News and of course only the ‘brutal’ attacks are what get media coverage.

When I got attacked by a lab, husky and mutt it did not make news. I had to go to the doctor, get shots and I have teeth marks in my butt cheek to prove it.

Dog Attack Fact: Educate Yourself Folks and stop blaming the breed…

Cecelia Tanner March 9, 2009, 1:42 PM

Anybody who owns a Pit Bull is a MORONIC FOOL.All they are doing is asking for attacks like this.

Lizz March 9, 2009, 3:16 PM

I want to address the issue of dogs and children. I am amazed at the narrow mindedness of some people who feel that “certain breeds” of dogs are more dangerous than others.Yes, if a dog has a larger mouth it can do more damage however, the reality is that any dog,any mouth,any animal,including humans can harm,maim or kill a child.I personally raised my children with many different breeds of dogs to include the ” dangerous rottweiller’!! I never had even the slightest incident where I was afraid or fearful. But I did take precautions at all times that my children were not ever left alone with the dogs. There are nany reasons for attacks that are or should be expected by human bengs with any brain function!! Some are food aggression, injury to include hitting, fright, and just as humans react so do other living things. We as parents need to assume the responsibilty of teaching not only the animals but also children on the proper way to interact and the situations to be careful in etc. And as dog owners we need to be sure that our animals are properly trained by professionals if need be. Part of the responsibilty as owners is to be sure that your animal can live in society but we never must forget that things can happen so never place your child in a situation where they may possibly be at risk. Unfortunately, there are terrible things that can happen with animals and humans.What we must never forget is that people can be injured by small and large animals just as they can be injured by small and large humans. It is not the breed that causes injury, it is the way the animal has been raised, the kind of life they have had, the way they have been treated that determines how they will react in certain situations. Sure there are ” bad” dogs just like there are ” bad” people. Responsible adults must protect their children from both.

Anonymous March 9, 2009, 4:24 PM


whatamess March 9, 2009, 4:40 PM

I agree 100% with Anon…this is not the fault of the dogs, but of irresponsible parents. Before my son was born we read everything about bringing a new baby home. Took a blanket from the hospital to the house the day before we arrived home, got a dog toy for the dog for the day we arrived, my husband walked in with our son, instead of me…since our dog had not seen me in a couple of days vs. my husband…and even with this, we saw that she was a bit jealous and called the vet…Within a couple of weeks our dog protected our son very well…wouldn’t let anyone get near his crib…and the rest is history…Our son is now 7yrs old and never have we had any problems.

In addition, whether there was a dog or not, it was irresponsible for a parent to leave their 2 month old alone to go the the bathroom…I used the bathroom with my son in the bathroom with me for years…I showered before my husband left for work or after…

So don’t blame this on the dog, but on the irresponsible parents.

Kara March 9, 2009, 6:15 PM

I think the thing we need to remember here is that dogs are NOT HUMANS. They do not think “Oh, better not that” they just run on instinct. It is foolish to have dogs around young children - any kind of dog. My niece was recently attacked by a pit bull that got out of his yard and chased her and her friends from the community playground until he caught her and tore off her nose and did some other damage to her face and hands. I understand that not ALL pit bulls are going to do this but really, with all the crap that can happen, do you value your child so little that you would take the chance????

Anonymous March 9, 2009, 11:16 PM

OMG..I just told my dh today I want a chow..The one martha stewart has

Dawn March 10, 2009, 10:06 AM

Most of these attacks are by dogs who live chained in backyards, break loose or because it is so easy for a child to wander too close. Please visit for more information on these attacks on children. (soon to be renamed Parents Against Dog Chaining) There you can find articles, information, stories from family members. There is also a support group which is open only to parents of these attacks. -Mothers Against Dog Chaining (

Bo March 10, 2009, 11:24 AM

My thoughts on this are pretty simple. If you have a dog, which may exhibit aggressive tendencies, take precautionary measures. It’s all about choice. People choose to have pets, therefor as a result of that choice, you choose to accept the responsibility of owning that pet. A toy poodle could have done the same thing to that baby, and labeling a specific breed of dog as dangerous is silly, and plainly naive.

Mary March 10, 2009, 12:30 PM

When it comes to dogs, or any animal - size doesn’t matter. No matter how loving and loyal, animals are UNPREDICTABLE. I love my dog dearly, but whenever I have to run upstairs for a few minutes and leave my 3 y/o alone - I always crate the dog. Why take chances?

Mary March 10, 2009, 12:36 PM

In addition, whenever someone comes over for a play date - I ALWAYS crate my dog.
Do I feel bad for her, yes, but do I want to be responsible for disfiguring another child’s face? Absolutely not.

Your dog may be great around your kids, but remember their nature is to be protective, so if they see a stranger, even a small one, being a bit rough or loud, your “harmless” dog may feel the need to protect its young owner.

Gail Cooke March 10, 2009, 3:02 PM

I don’t agree that all dogs are dangerous, not even rotties or pit bulls. I think that a lot of the time it’s the owner of the dog or parent of the child that bear the brunt of blame. Having said that, stuff happens.

I’ve heard plenty of incidents where the children hurt the animals and the pets are defending themselves.

I think the key is responsible dog owners who train their dogs properly or take other measures, suitable supervision of children and training the child how to behave around pets, and just general care and attention of what is going on around you.

All I’m saying is, a lot of the time it’s circumstance that causes injury or death.

Anonymous March 11, 2009, 11:48 AM

Lets look at the real problem here for a moment shall we?

Is it the dog, is it the parent? The answers can be monday morning quaterbacked all day…but the real truth is we all know that your playing russian roulette by allowing your dog, regardless of size, age, breed or good/bad nature or even scenario, alone in the same room, yard etc.. with a child, regardless of the childs age. So whose to blame…Ask yourself Honestly, isn’t it probably the laziness and risk taking on the part of the parent or guardian of the child and dog when this is done. I am willing to bet 9 times out of 10, when this has been done by a guardian or parent (which I am willing to bet it is done more than any of us realize) and nothing happens, it clears a path for their conscience to continue their justification to keep on doing it… but when it does go bad, as in this case, we all know it makes national news…and… Who do we, as a society want to blame first…Yes, the dog. Some want to blame the parent/guardian, which is really where the blame should lay, as they made the decision for the child, (whom cannot make the decision for itself) and the dog, (whom cannot make the right human decision for itself)
So why blame the dog, you ask? IT’S EASY, that why! There are no laws that protect the dog’s rights, like do human rights…and most importantly, its socially, morally and lawfully acceptable for a parent or guardian of a child to point the finger at the family dog. Then for them to be surprised and appauled by the dogs actions, is because it is socially acceptable to act this way. It is a fact that the majority of ppl. in this world have no true and fact based comprehension of what true animal/canine behavior is, so they/we go on this misbegotten ideology, if a dog behaves this way, it must be crazed, vicious or “one of those breeds.” This forces existing laws to take over, of course with the shocked parents or guardians approval, thus shifting blame and shame away from them, for the authorities take the dog away, declare it vicious and have it euthanized and be done with it, w/o any blame placed on the parent or guardian for their ultimate responsibility in this, which is….They could of prevented this horrific event by NOT ALLOWING THE CHILD AND DOG IN THE SAME ROOM ALONE TOGETHER UNATTENDED! To begin with.

Society wonders why we have so many laws placed upon us for things most of us common sense individuals would do anyway…it’s the other half of society that are lazy risk takers who maker law-makers enact these laws, so there are actual real consequences for the lazy risk takers who put our children and animals into these scenarios and set them up to fail…Is that right? Whose to say…But it makes ppl. think twice doesn’t it, “hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t leave my dog and child alone in the same room, Oh, yeah, and it’s against the the law too and I might go to jail”…C’mon folks! Stop blaming everyone and anything for your own lazy, irresponsible and risk taking ways! Maybe our world would be a little better if everyone stopped making excuses for their laziness and inadequacies and start taking their responsibilities more serious.

mercaties March 13, 2009, 2:21 AM

This is very very sad. My heart goes out to the family of this innocent baby. But lets get down to facts here a newborn baby should not be left alone with any type of dog, even a small dog or a cat. A good friend of mine, her cat jumped into the bassinet of her one month old and caused severe cuts that resulted in the baby needing suture’s. I wouldn’t leave my newborn in the presence of any animal. Animal’s are curious by nature especially when there’s a new little person around that they aren’t used too. Even a “good” dog should not be left alone with a baby that young.

pitpack August 25, 2009, 3:07 PM

It amazes me that Colleen Lynn gets cited as any sort of authority about dog behavior when she is a FREELANCE WEB DESIGNER, not a dog trainer nor animal behaviorist. Her second greatest claim to fame is that she is the publisher and profiteer of Her first and greatest claim to fame is that she is an admitted paranoid delusional that must take medication to prevent a “level four attack — five being disastrous.” Colleen Lynn is a certified crazy person on a crusade to complete the circle of victimization by preying on responsible dog owners and those that follow her over-generalized agenda are of the same mindset as those that drank the Koolaid in Jamestown.

Here are some real facts and I will use Indiana since MomLogic chose to use the image of Amaya Hess to further inflame the issue.

Over the past 44 years (1965-present) there have been eleven (11) fatal dog attacks in Indiana, an average of one (1) fatality every four (4) years.

At least twelve (12) different breeds/types of dogs have been identified in these eleven incidents. (Note: The number of breeds is larger than number of attacks because one fatality involved three dogs of different breeds.)

The victims were 5 adults and 6 children.

In spite of the recklessness and negligence of some owners, dogs still pose an incredibly low risk of causing a fatality in Indiana:

Indiana: Recognized Risks Year 2005
Tobacco-related fatalities 9,800
Total (alcohol & non) traffic deaths 938
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities 325
Farm-work related fatalities 16
ATV-related fatalities 14
Bicycle-related fatalities 11
Persons drowned in tub or swimming pool 9
Persons killed by dogs 2

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

In 2005, 29 Indiana children died as result of maltreatment (abuse / neglect).

In a single year, 2005, more than four times as many Indiana children died from maltreatment than the total of all children killed by dogs in the state over the past 44 years.

Fact is, people in Indiana accept far greater risks from ATVs, bicycles and swimming pools than any that are associated with companion animals.

Facts like these are rarely reported and conveniently overlooked by people like Colleen Lynn and the media. Why? Because headlines like “Pit Bull Kills Toddler” sells more papers and produces more web hits (and ad sales) than ones that truthfully read: “Today Nobody was Killed by Pit Bulls”.

The glaring truth is that there is no “pit bull problem.”

doglover August 30, 2009, 6:18 PM

I think its the parents fault if something were to happen with the children because they suppose that nothing will happen. In the case of a pit bull or a rotreiller its the fault of the owner if they turn bad because theres no such thing as a bad dog its only the way the owner has trained it.

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