A close-knit Victorian town is in shock following the death of a 14-month-old girl who was mauled by the family dog as her mother tried to pull the canine away to save her baby’s life.
The German wirehaired pointer is a breed often used for hunting, but this one was the family’s pet.
It attacked the back of the baby’s head and neck, inflicting terrible injuries.
The little girl’s mother tried to intervene and pull the dog away, but it was too strong and the woman was also injured.
Paramedics arrived at the scene but the little girl could not be saved.
According to police, the pet had never shown signs of aggression until that day. It will now be euthanised.
“Ambulance have worked on the young girl for approximately 150 minutes, but unfortunately she was pronounced deceased as a result of injuries sustained when attacked by the dog,” Sergeant Dean Waddell said.
“It was a six-year-old wirehaired pointed, with no known history of aggressiveness. We’ll be investigating as to why [it attacked].”
The little girl’s father was at work when he received the heartbreaking phone call about what had happened.
“They’re obviously devastated, Mum and Dad,” Sgt Waddell said.
“There’s two siblings in there too, they’re devastated. It’s just an absolute tragedy.”
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The family moved to Neerim Junction four months ago for a tree change.
While still new to the community, the little girl’s death has deeply affected residents in the tight-knit region of country Victoria.
The local council has turned the town hall into a makeshift support centre for anyone struggling to process what happened.
“It’s just tragic,” Baw Baw Shire Mayor Joe Gauci told reporters on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a new family that’s moved into your local area and I don’t know how you put words to it.”
Alex Krstic, who has bred German wirehaired pointers for 30 years, said while the breed was a common domestic pet, they were bred for hunting.
“These dogs weigh between 20 and 30 kilograms. They’re very athletic and they’re quite capable of dispatching animals the size of a feral pig,” he said.
The pet was later handed over to authorities by the little girl’s father and the family has consented it being euthanised.