Baby is Recovering
UPDATE 12/01/08: After undergoing surgery in the intensive care unit at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to treat what emergency responders considered life-threatening injuries, the three-month-old boy is "resting comfortably," according to Tonawanda Police Detective Tim Toth. "Molson," the Gath Terrace family’s six-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, ripped apart a portion of the gate to the room where the infant was and attacked the baby.
11/30/08: Fireman Saves Baby
The Tonawanda News reports that the child was attacked in the stomach region. Doctors performed emergency surgery to replace the baby's intestines. The mother said she called authorities after hearing noise and the sound of the infant crying while she was in the shower. She was confronted with a horrific scene -- the baby lay screaming in a penned off area of the house, barricaded by about 12 feet of safety fence, bleeding badly from his midsection.
The Staffordshire bull terrier was covered in blood. Police Detective Tim Toth said, "Based on our investigation, we believe the dog ripped apart a piece of either the gate or fencing and got into the area." Reports detail at least three areas of blood in the room, which investigators believe may mean the child was thrown about during the attack. By the time first responders arrived, an off-duty firefighter who lives nearby was already dressing the baby's wounds.
City of Tonawanda Fire Captain Robert Hassett, 44, is being credited with saving the child's life. The 18-year veteran of the department credited his role in the matter to the city’s provision of a response vehicle equipped with first aid and paramedic supplies, which he keeps in his driveway when not at work. "I happened to get there first," he said, adding another nearby firefighter also heard the call and responded. "But everyone did their job."
11/30/08: Life-Threatening Injuries
Tonawanda, NY - A three-month old baby was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier today. The child is undergoing emergency surgery at Buffalo's Women and Children's Hospital. The baby suffered life-threatening injuries and is still in emergency surgery. The attack happened at the family home in the Riverview area of Tonawanda. The Tonawanda Police Department has not released the location of the attack or the name of the victim.
Detectives say the family pet, a 6-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier (a pit bull type dog) attacked the baby. An adult was home at the time and called 911. It took two SPCA officers to restrain the dog. That dog is now in their custody, along with the other family dog, a pit bull. The Erie County SPCA said the owner has not yet signed over custody of the dogs. The agency could put the animal down at the direction of the police or the courts.
NOTE: The Staffordshire bull terrier and the American pit bull share the same ancestry, both evolved from crossing the original bull baiting dog with smaller terriers. The Staffordshire bull terrier was developed in the UK and is uncommon in the United States. Cities that regulate pit bulls typically regulate the whole class of "pit bull type" dogs, which includes: American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and bull terrier.
Name confusion within the pit bull class is intentional. For instance, the American pit bull terrier is the same dog as the American Staffordshire terrier. That said, the Staffordshire bull terrier is distinguished as a different breed than the bull terrier. But each are part of the "pit bull type dog" classification.
03/22/08: Dog Walker Mauled by Bull Terriers
03/05/08: Staffordshire Bull Terriers Going Berserk in the UK