A three-month-old baby girl has died after being attacked by a dog. The incident occurred at a home in the village of Clashmore, County Waterford, Ireland—located in the south of the country—The Irish Examiner reported.
The dog, of an unknown breed, reportedly attacked the baby while the child was in her bedroom. Police and paramedics responded to the scene before rushing the baby to a nearby hospital.
But the infant succumbed to her injuries and doctors pronounced her dead at around 3 a.m. local time.
Police are now investigating the incident and the scene at the house has been sealed off in preparation for forensic examination. Irish police said in a statement that “all the circumstances” of the incident are under investigation.
Officials said that a postmortem examination would be conducted later on Monday, June 7. The results will be sent to a coroner’s court and an inquest will be held.
Father Milo Guiry, a priest from the local parish, called the baby girl’s death a “terrible tragedy,” according to the Examiner.
“We will keep the family in our prayers. Every support will be offered to them. It is terrible, terrible news,” the Ardmore priest said in a statement.
In the United States, deaths due to dog attacks are very rare. But according to a report published by Louisiana State University Shreveport researchers Kenneth Maniscalco and Mary Ann Edens, around 30 to 50 people die from dog bites every year in the U.S. on average.
The authors of the report say that around 300,000 people visit the emergency room or a primary care provider to seek for treatment for dog bites. The majority of these people have “excellent” outcomes. But those who suffer injuries to the face, groin, and hands are at higher risk, the authors said.
According to the website dogsbite.org, there were 46 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities in 2020, with pit bulls contributing to 72 percent of these deaths. This breed makes up around 6.2 percent of the total U.S. dog population.
Fifteen (33 percent) of the victims who were killed by dogs in 2020 were children aged nine years and younger, while 28 (61 percent) were adults aged 19 years and older. Of the fifteen children, 87 percent were aged between zero and two years old.
The authors of the website say many serious and fatal dog attacks involved children who are visiting or living temporarily at the home of a grandparent, family friend, or babysitter where a pit bull or rottweiler is kept.