Quebec Newborn Killed in Dog Attack

One of the three huskies that was in the house at the time of the incident is seen with its owner Monday night.
One of the three huskies that was in the house at the time of the incident is seen with its owner Monday night. (CBC)

A very sad and disturbing story out of Quebec.

From CBC News:

A newborn baby is dead after being attacked by a dog, Quebec provincial police say.

The attack happened in Saint-Barnabé-Sud, Que., on Monday afternoon.

Police said they received a call about the three-week-old girl around 3:30 p.m. ET.

Neighbours said the baby was in the home on Rang Bas-Saint-Amable with a pair of huskies — a male and a female.

The dogs did not belong to the family, but to a couple visiting the home, they said.

Read more:

Since the initial report, the 17 year old mother and the baby’s 37 year old grandmother have been charged with manslaughter, for leaving the baby alone with the dogs.  Charges against the grandmother were later dropped.

From CBC News:

A 17-year-old mother was charged with manslaughter on Tuesday after a dog mauled and killed her newborn girl east of Montreal.

The teenager and her 37-year old mother were arrested late Monday after the three-week-old baby was killed by a husky inside the family home in Saint-Barnabé-Sud, near Saint-Hyacinthe.

Paramedics found the baby girl covered in deep bite marks and scratches. Police said she had been left strapped in her car seat on the main floor of the house when one of two dogs in the home attacked her.

The teen was charged in youth court because she is a minor and cannot be identified.

The woman’s lawyer, André Williams, said he was “completely blown away” by the charge laid against his client and by the speed with which it was laid.

“This is a young girl who is rather fragile,” he told reporters at the Saint-Hyacinthe courthouse on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the baby’s grandmother was released after the Crown decided there was not enough evidence to press charges, said the woman’s lawyer, Mélissa Côté.

The 37-year-old woman was visiting her daughter and granddaughter Monday afternoon.

The women left the house to go outside “and go in the garden to see the flowers,” said provincial police Sgt. Ronald McInnis.

The infant was left inside the house strapped into a car seat that was sitting on a chair.

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It’s hard to know who to blame, in this case, because we don’t seem to know all of the facts yet.

Sadly, the latest dog bite statistics for Canada that I could find show Huskies are still the number one breed responsible for serious injuries and deaths of children in Canada. I would never and will never call for the banning of any breed, but I do find there’s something ironic about all of this, not least in the number of commenters who instantly – and almost enthusiastically – were willing to start accusing ‘Pit Bulls’ of this attack.

It’s obviously a tragedy, and it’s just one more illustration of how incredibly dangerous it is to leave any baby or young child alone, unsupervised, with any breed or size of dog, as this quote from the CBC News article makes clear –

It may be impossible to know for sure why the dog attacked the child, said veterinary behaviourist Enid Styles.

Dogs are more likely to bite older children, because they have unpredictable movements that can frighten the animal, she said.

However, Styles said it is possible the animal might have been startled by the child’s crying or the baby might have been caught in the middle of a fight between the dogs.

In any case, a child should never be left unattended around dogs, Styles said.

“Supervision needs to mean, really, that you are between your dog and your child,” she said. “You can’t be just on the other side of the room.”