Family of baby girl savaged to death by illegal American pit bull at her grandmother’s house say they are ‘totally devastated’ by loss of their ‘little princess’
- Northamptonshire Police confirmed the animal was an American pit bull
- Aggressive breed is banned in Britain under The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
- Dog mauled a six-month-old baby to death at grandmother’s home last week
- Neighbours previously described ‘devil dogs’ which ‘wore muzzles’
The relatives of a baby girl mauled to death by her grandmother’s illegal pet dog have paid tribute to their ‘little princess’ as police continue to investigate the tragedy. The six-month-old was savagely killed last week by an American pit bull at her grandmother’s house while she was being looked after in Daventry, Northamptonshire. The breed of dog is banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 which prohibits the ownership of animals bred for their fighting abilities.
Today the baby’s family released a statement in which they said they were ‘devastated’ by their loss. ‘The family wish to say at this point that we are totally devastated and in complete shock for the tragic loss of our little princess and ask that we are left alone to grieve at this horrific time.’ It came after Northamptonshire Police revealed the dog’s breed following a post-mortem examination. Chief Inspector Tom Thompson said: ‘We can today reveal the outcome of that post mortem has shown the dog was an American pit bull, a prohibited breed under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act.’This continues to be a complex and highly unusual investigation which has required significant resource within Force and drawn on national expertise in the area of dangerous dogs. ‘But at the heart of it is a baby girl whose life has tragically been taken away in the most horrific of circumstances.’ Mr Thompson would not reveal whether anyone had been arrested in connection with the baby’s death, adding: ‘Extensive inquiries are taking place to ascertain if any offenses have occurred. ‘In addition to our ongoing investigation, we have been concentrating our efforts on providing support for a grieving family who have been left devastated by this. ‘The family have made it very clear that they do not want us to name their child. We must remember that they’re grieving, they’re in shock.’They have lost a child in the most tragic circumstances and we really must respect their wishes.’ An inquest into the infant’s death will be held next week.
Earlier neighbors of the woman, who has not been named, described two ‘devil dogs’ walking around the estate where she lives in Daventry. ‘The neighbors whose homes back on to the side of the house have been complaining to the district council and dog wardens since May,’ one said. ‘They have complained multiple times but nothing has been done. They were even recording sound levels.’You could hear the dogs killing each other fighting non-stop in the house from 100ft away inside our house.’They were screeching, growling and barking all the time. It was terrifying, they are known as the devil dogs.’One of the ladies who complained said she was worried her two young children would be killed if they escaped. ‘You see all the emergency services there and you really feel for the family. ‘But at the end of the day if something had been done and the complaints were listened to then that little girl might still be alive.’ Daventry District Council officials visited the property once after complaints over noise. A spokesman said: ‘We received one noise complaint in May from a neighbour relating to two dogs barking at the property. ‘As with all such complaints, we spoke to the owners of the dogs who acted to control the noise to a reasonable level. ‘We have not received any other complaints relating to these dogs. ‘We always encourage anyone with concerns about the safety of any dog to report them to us or the police.’
THE DANGEROUS DOGS ACT 1991
The Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in 1991 as a means of keeping vulnerable people and children safe from animals. Prohibited breeds are so because they have been bred for their abilities to fight. Among them is the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, and any other considered by the Secretary of State to have been bred for fighting. Banned breeds cannot be kept, bred, sold or exchanged under the law. Anyone who owns a banned breed cannot take it out in public without a muzzle. If a person commits an Dangerous Dogs related offense, they can be disqualified for dog ownership and be ordered to have the animal put down.