A Virginia family’s 3-year-old wolf-hybrid dog has been put down after it attacked and killed their newborn infant, the sheriff there says.
According to WJHL, a call came in just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday referring to a family pet that attacked a baby girl in the Seminary community of Lee County. The 8-day-old infant was first taken to Lonesome Pine Hospital before being transported to Holson Valley Medical Center, and then to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tenn.
She was pronounced dead around 4 p.m., Sheriff Gary Parsons told WCYB.
Lee County is located in the westernmost tip of Virginia. Knoxville, about 50 miles to the southwest, is the closest city of at least 100,000 residents.
“The child, according to statements, was in a bassinet. There was blood in the bassinet where the dog had attacked the child,” Parsons told WJHL. “It was very serious injuries to the upper body and the head. The child had been seriously mauled by the animal.”
Neither the baby nor other members of her family have been identified by law enforcement, but according to WATE, the family does have two other children and two other dogs. A joint investigation between the sheriff’s office and Lee County Department of Social Services is ongoing.
Wolfdogs are hybrids resulting from the breeding of a domestic dog with a wolf, according to the International Wolf Center. They do not include breeds of dog that may resemble wolves, like Huskies and malamutes.
Ownership by private citizens has long been a contentious issue.
“I’m concerned about whether the child was protected, so the tough part for me is who is in the right and who is in the wrong,” Parsons told WJHL. “You hate to charge parents who are grieving over a child, but at the same time you have to consider the rights of the child.”
Possible charges include child endangerment and neglect.