Julian Connell, 26 days old, was killed by a family pit bull-mix in Lafayette, Indiana.
Family Dog Kills Infant
Lafayette, IN - A one-month old baby is dead after being mauled by a family pit bull-mix, Lafayette police said Monday. The attack occurred at 1901 Greenbush Street at about 11:30 am Saturday. Police were dispatched to the residence after the infant's teenage brother called 911 -- both the brother and the baby's mother were in the home when the attack occurred. The pit bull-mix had been "fighting" with a beagle-mix in the home prior to attacking and killing the infant, police said.
The teenage brother separated the fighting dogs, according to police, and that is when the pit bull attacked the baby (redirected aggression).
The dog fight occurred in the same room where police found little Julian Connell and the pit bull, the Journal & Courier reports. Officers arrived to find the dog standing over the infant, police said. Officer Neil Cain shot and killed the animal in order to reach the baby boy and begin life-saving aid. Connell was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The family's surviving beagle-mix dog was taken to Purdue Veterinary Hospital for medical treatment.
The Tippecanoe County Coroner Donna Avolt said a preliminary autopsy showed the infant died from "multiple sharp force injuries" after sustaining dog bites to his head and neck. The manner of death was an accident. Lafayette Police are still investigating where the infant was lying when the dog fatally attacked him. WTHR reports the teenage brother took the injured beagle-mix out of the room after the dog fight. When he returned to the room, the pit bull-mix had attacked the baby.
"The two dogs were engaged in some sort of a fight in the bedroom where the infant was staying. The brother was actually able to separate the beagle away from the pit bull, take it out of the room and when he returned, he found that the pit bull had attacked the infant," Lafayette Police Lt. Matt Gard said. "The infant did suffer some catastrophic injuries." Gard added, when Officer Cain arrived, in order to render aid to the infant, the officer had to fire his handgun one time, killing it.
The Presence of Adults
Last July, we wrote about the Central Texas pediatric study, whose findings showed that parental presence was reported in 43.6% of all attacks and 72.5% were of major severity (Abraham et al., 2019). Multiple studies from Level 1 trauma centers examining severe dog bite injuries report similar findings, including that "Dog familiarity did not confer safety" (Garvey et al., 2015) and "Infants were more than 4 times as likely to be bitten by the family dog." (Golinko et al, 2017)
More recently, a West Virginia study stated, "Our study confirms the dangerous interactions between some dogs, principally pit bulls, and vulnerable persons, especially young children. The number and extent of injuries sustained by many patients, in particular among the owners or family members who had a pit bull in residence, should prompt serious consideration as to the implications of having a dangerous dog." The study called for stronger polices to protect children.
"Our study confirms the dangerous interactions between some dogs, principally pit bulls, and vulnerable persons, especially young children. The number and extent of injuries sustained by many patients, in particular among the owners or family members who had a pit bull in residence, should prompt serious consideration as to the implications of having a dangerous dog. Pediatric anticipatory guidance should include cautionary measures when it comes to safety in the home environment and potential dangers with some dog breeds." (Khan et al., Dog-Bite Injuries to the Craniofacial Region, J Oral Maxillofac Surg, [2019 Nov 14, Epub)
Recent pit bull fatalities involving active adult presence at the time of the attack include: the death of 13-month old Baby "Doug" Doe in California, whose babysitter was in "very close proximity" with the child when the family pit bull attacked, the death of 9-month old Liana Valino in Florida, whose grandmother was with the child when the dog attacked and the death of 1-year old Triniti Harrell in North Carolina, whose mother was with the baby when the family pit bull viciously attacked.
09/24/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: 13-Month Old Boy Killed by Family Pit Bull in Granite Bay
06/24/19: Central Texas Pediatric Study: Pit Bulls Inflicted the Highest Prevalence and Severity...
06/07/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Family Pit Bull While Under Grandmother's Care
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.