It’s been revealed a baby mauled to death by two rottweilers had been asleep next to a table of half a dozen adults when the dogs suddenly pounced on the five-week-old girl.
A family friend has described the sheer horror of the incident that ultimately killed little Mia Riley.
It's alleged the family were enjoying a barbecue at the home of Mia's grandfather in Moruya on the NSW South Coast with neighbours on Saturday night when the tragedy unfolded.
“There was just no warning,” they told The Daily Mail, explaining that the dogs were sleeping harmlessly about three metres away from the bassinet when, for no apparent reason, they lunged at Mia.
“There were no other kids, the dogs weren’t running around and no one was provoking the dogs or anything, they weren’t agitated or distressed. It just happened out of nowhere.”
Mia’s parents Tom and Lani Riley leapt to rescue their baby girl while the family friend said everyone there had to be involved in getting the dogs off her.
“There was a considerable amount of blood,” they said. “It was terrible.”
The parents then rushed their little girl to the nearby Moruya Hospital but doctors were unable to save her and she died from head injuries shortly after midnight.
Police were called to the hospital after the family arrived at about 10.40pm.
Police confirmed to Yahoo News Australia on Wednesday that they are continuing to investigate the girl's death. No charges have been laid.
"Two Rottweiler-type dogs, which live at the home, have been seized by rangers from the local council," police said in a statement. They are expected to be euthanised.
Grandfather ‘in shock’
For the couple who also have a two-year old daughter who’d been around the dogs since she was born, the canine attack caught them completely off guard.
“There’s never been an issue [before],” the family friend told the Daily Mail.
“I spoke to the grandfather and he’s just in shock.”
Most animal behaviouralists argue banning specific breeds does not improve public safety, however many jurisdictions, including NSW, maintain the practice helps prevent dog attacks.
"Councils have a range of powers to reduce the risk of dog attacks, including the ability to classify certain dogs as restricted, dangerous or menacing," a NSW Office of Local Government spokesperson said.
Heartbreaking Facebook post days before tragedy
Just days before the tragedy, Tom reportedly took to Facebook to share that he was opting for a four-day week in order to spend more time with his young family.
“I will no longer be in the clinic on Fridays,” he wrote on the South Coast Spine Care’s page, “favouring to stay at home and spend time with my kids”.
He also paid tribute to his wife, thanking her for “doing the witching hour” with their children four nights a week.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.