A Rhode Island toddler died this week after an “unprovoked attack” by a family dog at her grandparents’ home, police said Friday.
East Providence police said that the 15-month-old girl, whose name has not been released, was “roaming freely” when she was attacked by a pit bull-type breed at the home in East Providence, about three miles southeast of Providence, where officers responded around 2:45 p.m. for a “disturbance in progress,” NBC 10 News reported Friday.
“The family had sat down for lunch outside,” Police Chief William Nebus said. “The baby was on the ground roaming freely and the dog, in the fenced-in backyard, was also roaming freely.”
Nebus said that from what authorities know, “It was an unprovoked attack.
“There was no food on the ground both of them were going for,” he continued. “There was no hair-pulling, no tail-pulling, anything of that sort.”
The little girl sustained significant injuries and died not long after arriving at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.
Two adults, whose names and relations to the girl have not been released, were also injured while attempting to end the attack.
Police did not know of any earlier incidents with the dog, who they said belonged to the family.
Animal Control also arrived to the home and the dog was euthanized on scene after what neighbor Heidi Dorazio said took about 30 to 45 minutes.
“We heard the gunshots,” Tracy Couto, another neighbor, told the outlet. “I heard the dog howling when he went down. I just can’t believe what I was hearing.”
“People might say this was just because it was a pit bull, but be careful of all breeds when you’re introducing children,” said Nebus. “There was no fault to throw around here, whether it was the parents or grandparents … but, the message is, be careful with all dogs and children.”
A GoFundMe created Friday identifies the baby as Scarlett, the daughter of Manny and Brianne Pereira.
“With a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, I share with you the loss of this very beautiful and loved baby girl,” Caitlin Callahan DeAngelis, who identifies herself as Manny’s former sister-in-law, wrote. “She was brutally attacked by a family members [sic] dog and did not make it.”
The case is under investigation by East Providence police and the city’s Animal Control.
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