Chesterfield police reveal new details in death of baby

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - New information in the case of a baby boy who died after he was bitten by a dog.

Chesterfield Police said the adults were serving lunch in the kitchen while the baby was left alone in the next room. But we're told the baby had been around the dog before with no problem.

Police are also telling us the dog is deaf, which one animal expert said may be a key factor, as well as the fact that the child had only been in the home a short time.

"I would like to think that because the dog had never had any history of aggression previously that it was an accident that the dog may have simply tried to pick up the child to move it," said Tonya Irizarry with Ring Dog Rescue.

My request for the 911 call was denied. In an email, Chesterfield Emergency Communications cited the reason for that was the records related to a criminal investigation.

My knock at the front door of the home on Overridge Drive went unanswered. A neighbor said the family packed up and left Wednesday night hours after police said the family's deaf dog, an American Bulldog-mix bit a relative's 6-month-old baby boy. The child died at the hospital.

Police tell me the mother and child were visiting from Seattle and this home was one of several stops in catching up with family.

Wednesday afternoon, police said the adults were serving lunch to older children before they tended to the baby in the next room where he was left on the floor by itself.

"Never ever leave children unattended with dogs no matter how much we try to domesticate dogs they are still animals and that interaction always needs to be supervised," said Irizarry.

A rule to follow no matter how old the child is said Irizarry. Irizarry said the American Bulldog breed is known to be non aggressive.

"The dog being deaf and not maybe hearing the child if the child crawled or approached the dog - maybe the dog was sleeping and the child touched it, it was startled, again since nobody was present, we'll never know," said Irizarry.

Police said the home was among several stops for the boy and his mother during their trip from Seattle.

Another key factor says Irizarry.

"It takes any dog an average of six months to recognize a child as a member of the family or the pack so to speak, so the fact that this child was just visiting this dog's home, the dog didn't necessarily recognize the child as a member of the family," said Irizarry.

The dog remains in Chesterfield Animal Control custody and police said it will likely be put down.

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