A WEEK-OLD baby boy has died after being bitten by his family’s pet dog.
Harry Harper was taken to hospital after emergency crews were called to a semi-detached house in Ketley near Telford, Shropshire, but died a short time later.
Harry’s relatives released a statement saying: “As a family we are absolutely devastated by Harry’s death and have no words to describe the loss we have suffered.
“We have no wish to speak publicly about yesterday’s events and would ask that we are left in peace to grieve and begin to deal with our loss.”
The incident, which is understood to have taken place at the home of Harry’s maternal grandparents, Gordon and Teresa Bell, is not being treated as suspicious by police.
Harry’s mother, Mikayla, 19, is thought to have been with her parents at the property when the incident took place. The baby’s father, Tom Harper, also 19, was not present.
Police confirmed that the Jack Russell terrier has since been destroyed.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, of West Mercia Police, said: “Our investigation is ongoing, but it appears that the baby died as a result of a dog bite.
“The dog in question was a family pet – a Jack Russell – and this animal has been put down.
“A post-mortem examination will be taking place to establish the exact cause of the baby’s death, but at this stage it does appear to be a tragic accident.”
DCI Jamieson added: “I would like to ask the press to report this incident as sensitively as possible, as the family involved are devastated by their loss.”
The emergency services were called to the property shortly before 8am, and the baby was taken to Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital, where he later died.
Ambulance service spokesman John Hawker said: “We were called to reports of a medical emergency at a residential property in Ketley, Telford, at 7:53am. A young child was treated at the scene and transferred by ambulance to the Princess Royal Hospital for further treatment. Unfortunately, the child passed away at hospital.”
Harry’s death has been reported to the local coroner and West Mercia Police are continuing investigations to establish the circumstances surrounding the death.
Inspector Helen Thomas, of West Mercia Police, said yesterday that the Jack Russell terrier involved was not considered a risk. She said: “It was not a dangerous dog. It was a small dog and a family pet.”
Residents in the area were reluctant to speak to the media about the tragedy.
But neighbour Ingrid Finch said: “It’s just horror – shock and horror, really. I feel desperately sorry for everybody concerned.
“We are quite a tight-knit community and everybody knows everybody else and we’ve all lived here a long time. We are absolutely horrified.”
Another neighbour, who declined to give her name, said: “It’s very, very sad. Losing a baby must be heart-breaking, however it happens, and they need to be left to grieve.”