Family dog attacks, kills 2-week-old baby girl

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MESA -- The baby's dad is a member of the Mesa Police Department and fellow officers say they have been deeply affected by this tragedy.

A fundraising event to help out the family is set for next week. Contributions can also be made to the Officer Assistance Fund.


MESA -- A family dog attacked and killed a Mesa 2-week-old baby girl when her mother stepped away for just a moment.

Neighbor saw parents' agony

It happened at about 7 p.m. Wednesday at a home near Warner and South Mountain roads.

According to police, the mother, who is a police officer with the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, stepped away from the baby for a moment to use the bathroom. She left the baby in a low-lying bassinet or crib.

When she returned, she discovered the dog, a Chow, had severely bitten the infant.

The frantic mother called 911.

The first officers to arrive at the home said the baby girl had obvious bite wounds to her head. When Mesa paramedics got there, she was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

Det. Steve Berry of the Mesa Police Department said this story hits especially close to home because the baby's father is a Mesa police officer. He was on duty at the time of the attack.

It's not known how long the family had had the dog, which was quarantined at the county facility. The dog was euthanized Thursday.

A neighbor of the family said she had a similar situation with her own dog, a Pit Bull-Chow mix, and her daughter.

"He did bite her," Amy Axtell said. "He put his jaws around the top of her head and pulled her out the back door. When she started crying, the dog almost got killed, so we took it to the pound."

Mesa police say they will treat the incident as they would any other case, but they say at this time, it does not look like there was any wrongdoing.

"All indications are that this is just one of those very unfortunate tragic accidents that we deal with in this job sometimes," Berry said.

Two other dogs were taken from the home by a man who knows the family, but it's not clear if the dogs belong to them.

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