An 8-month-old baby died Thursday afternoon after he was attacked by the family dog on Prancer Court in Lusby while being watched by a family friend. Deputies responded to the scene within a minute of the initial call and shot the dog after observing it attacking the infant, according to a Calvert County Sheriff’s Office press release sent after the incident.
Authorities confirmed this incident was just a tragedy and there will be no criminal charges filed.
The initial investigation revealed a family friend was watching the baby boy when the family dog — described as a pit bull type dog — attacked him unprovoked, the release states. Officers arrived on scene at 1:02 p.m., at which time they observed the dog actively attacking the baby and subsequently shot the animal. While no rounds struck the child, deputies immediately determined the baby to be deceased as a result of the attack.
Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans (R), joined by Commissioners’ President Tom Hejl (R), held a press conference Friday afternoon at the sheriff’s office, where he explained the family friend attempted to remove the dog from the baby by choking it and striking it with a rawhide bone and her shoe. After realizing she couldn’t stop the dog, she called authorities. She was transported to the hospital afterwards with minor injuries.
Evans said the dog, which the family owned since it was a puppy, was 65 pounds and between 6 to 8 years old, and had no prior record of being aggressive. The dog was also around the infant his whole life. The animal was removed for rabies testing as a matter of standard procedures and the child was transported to the medical examiner’s office in Baltimore for an autopsy.
“This is a very sad day for our community. Our prayers and thoughts are with this family and everyone involved,” Evans said, indicating the responding officers felt helpless because they couldn’t save the child. Evans could recall only one other fatal dog attack in the county since he’s been sheriff, which was a 2006 incident in Lusby where a man was killed by his pit bulls.
At the press conference, Hejl said this is one of the worst tragedies the county has suffered and it will affect the entire community. He expressed his support for pit bull-restrictive legislation and said he hopes this incident will spur conversation in Congress.
When asked why he would support this type of legislation, Hejl said, “just because the nature of the animal and what history has told us about the animal. If you have a dog unprovoked attack an 8-month-old child, then it is” nature and not nurture.
In an interview with reporters after the press conference, Calvert Chief Animal Control Officer Craig Dichter said the law doesn’t need to be changed regarding pit bulls. He said a majority of the pit bull type breeds he comes across are friendly, but noted some can be problematic.
“Do I think we need a ban on [pit bulls]? I don’t think we need to go that far,” Dichter said.
The identity of the victim is not being released. A GoFundMe account started for the infant’s family had raised $21,610 as of Tuesday morning.