Saturday, February 19, 2011

Police: Child killed in pit bull attack

From WOOD

10-month-old boy mauled by family pit bull terrier

Police in Kalamazoo say a 10-month-old boy was killed Saturday afternoon after an apparent attack by the family pet -- a pit bull terrier.
Police were first called to the house in the 400 block of Garfield at about 4:30 p.m. for a medical emergency.
When they arrived they found the infant had been mauled by the pet.
Police say the boy suffered extensive trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The toddler's mother and his two-year-old sibling were home when the attack happened.
The dog has been removed from the home and quarantined.
Police are continuing to investigate the attack.

Update February 19, 2011 - The preceding article has been updated with a change from '10-month-old' to '10-day-old'.

Update February 21, 2011 - The following article is from WOOD:

Infant-killing pit bull euthanized

10-day-old baby mauled on Saturday

The pit bull who apparently mauled a 10-day-old baby to death on Saturday has been put down, officials said Monday.
The mother laid the infant in a bassinette for a nap, then laid down in another bedroom of the home on Garfield, investigators said in a release. The pit bull pushed open the baby's bedroom door and attacked the baby.
No negligence has been uncovered at this time, and officials said the investigation goes on.
The family had the one-year-old dog for about 11 months.

Update June 3, 2011 - The following article is by Rex Hall Jr., Kalamazoo Gazette:
 
Police report details fatal mauling of infant by pit bull in Kalamazoo

Buster was a hyper, 1-year-old family pet with no history of aggressiveness toward people.

But according to a mother’s account, it took the pit bull 10 minutes or less to enter 15-day-old Darius Tillman’s bedroom, drag him out of his bassinet and maul him to death in February.

A Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety report obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette under the state Freedom of Information Act shows that detectives sought charges of involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to animals against Darius’ 25-year-old mother, Mallory Wildig, but the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office declined to authorize charges.

The 36-page KDPS report says Wildig sobbed throughout her initial interview with Detective Sheila Goodell on Feb. 19, the day Darius was killed.

Wildig told Goodell she had been staying at her parents’ home on Nichols Road in the days following Darius’ Feb. 4 birth, returning to her home in the 400 block of Garfield Avenue to let Buster outside and give him food and water. On occasions when she was unable to make it home, she had a friend or her father stop by to feed the dog and give him water.

Wildig said that on Feb. 19 she, Darius and her 2-year-old son, Keylin Tillman, arrived at their house on Garfield between 11:30 a.m. and noon and that Keylin fed Buster two to three cups of food. The dog was then let outside and given a bath, she said.

That afternoon, she took her two children to Keylin’s room, where she read books to them then turned on a movie for Keylin while she laid Darius down for a nap in her bedroom, according to the report. Wildig told police she closed the door to her room  then returned to Keylin’s room to lay the toddler down for a nap. She told Goodell the door to her bedroom did not latch, a fact confirmed by crime-lab personnel who examined it after the incident, the report said.

Wildig said that when she laid down with Keylin, the pit bull was on the floor near them in the toddler’s room. She said she fell asleep for about 10 minutes, before the ring of her cell phone woke her. At that point, Wildig said, she went to the bathroom then went to feed Buster.

She said she noticed the dog was in the basement, which she found strange since Buster usually stayed upstairs when she was home and was confined to the basement when no one was home.

Wildig said she decided to check on Darius in her bedroom and “discovered that Darius was dead and had been mauled and partially consumed by Buster,” according to the KDPS report.

Wildig told Goodell that when she found her son, his bassinet was tilted to its side and Darius was on his back on the floor. She called her father for help then placed Darius back in his bassinet, where he was found by officers.

“When I walked into the room, there was blood on the bassinet and he just looked like a little doll on the floor,” Wildig said, according to the police report. “It felt like all of this was a nightmare.”

Sgt. Mark Johncock, one of the first officers to arrive on the scene, noted in his report that the infant showed “no signs of life.”

Wildig told detectives during their investigation that Buster’s feeding schedule changed after she gave birth Darius, during which time she stayed primarily with her parents. She said the dog had usually been fed two to three times a day but that recently it was being fed at least once daily and more food and water were being left for him in the basement.

Buster was euthanized after the attack on the infant and a veterinarian who examined him told police the dog “appeared to be getting the amount of calories it needed,” the police report said. An autopsy performed on the dog the night of Feb. 19 showed its stomach “was full of food,” the report said.

Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carrie Klein told the Gazette the entire incident “was tragic without question.”
“This was her baby,” Klein said of Wildig. “She loved her baby. She was traumatized by what happened.”

Klein said to charge Wildig with the manslaughter, as requested by police, the investigation would have had to show Wildig acted with gross negligence.

“Nobody ever saw any aggressive or violent tendencies from the pet at all,” Klein said. “There was no way for the mother to know it was going to attack and kill someone. It was not gross negligence on her part to have the dog running loose in the house with the baby in the bassinet.

“She had no way of knowing the dog was going to do what it did.”

Klein also said there was not evidence of neglect toward the dog that would support a charge of cruelty to animals. “I couldn’t say he wasn’t getting at least adequate care,” Klein said. “Maybe it wasn’t at the same level prior to the birth (of Darius) but ... (the dog) was hydrated, it was fed.”

Related articles:
Police: 10-month-old Kalamazoo boy dies after being mauled by family pit bull - The Kalamazoo Gazette
Police say Kalamazoo Newborn was Attacked by Pit-Bull Terrier - WSBT
Pit bull kills baby in Kalamazoo family's home - Chicago Tribune  
Family dog kills Kalamazoo baby - WZZM
Family's pit bull mauls 10-day-old Kalamazoo boy - Detroit Free Press  
Chief: No Negligence in Pit Bull Mauling Case - WKZO

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