Family tribute to South Wales 'dog-death' baby
Updated 2:27pm Wednesday 19th February 2014 in Pontypool news
TRAGIC: Eliza-Mae Mullane who is thought to have been killed by the family dog at her home on Pontyberem
THE family of a six-day-old baby girl who is thought to have been killed by the family dog are expected to pay tribute to her today.
Eliza-Mae Mullane was airlifted to the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff yesterday after what is thought to have been an attack carried out by the family's Alaskan malamute dog at their home in Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire.
It is "very unlikely" that there will be any updates on the police investigation until the end of the week, a spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police said.
A post-mortem examination is not expected to be carried out until then.
The dog is still alive, and the spokeswoman said: "We've still got the dog, and no, it hasn't been destroyed at the moment."
The parents have not been interviewed by police, she added.
The force has not confirmed whether the animal was responsible for the death, or the type of injuries sustained by little Eliza-Mae.
Neighbour Patricia Punter, 70, has been widely reported as overhearing the baby's mother, whom she named as Sharon John, screaming that the dog had attacked her daughter.
Dyfed-Powys Police were called to New Road, Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire at 8.30am yesterday, when officers seized the dog.
Alaskan malamutes are not listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and police have said the investigations are still at an "early stage".
A police spokeswoman said yesterday: "We are not going to speculate on reports from people in the community and we respectfully ask that you wait for the investigation to run its proper course."
Chief Inspector Ieuan Matthews said: "The baby girl was just six days old.
"Clearly, our sympathies are with the family at this tragic time and we have specialist officers who are supporting them. All I would ask is that you give them time and space to grieve.
"As far as our inquiries are concerned, the investigation is still at an early stage."
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, described the dog as "docile".
She said: "I have been into Sharon's house several times and the dog - it was like a husky - has been there, it doesn't cause any harm.
"There was nothing wrong with that dog. It had been around children for a few years.
"Certainly I had no concerns about it."
The woman said the victim's mother had two other children, a boy and a girl both of school and nursery age.
The victim's mother has lived at the address for around decade, the neighbour said.
The police chief inspector added: "It's a real tragic incident and we are at the early stages of investigating.
"Our hearts, as individuals and as a police service, go out to the family, parents and the wider community.
"We have got specially-trained family liaison officers supporting the family through this very difficult time.
"The little girl is six days old, tragically. As you can imagine, the family are hugely distressed.
"These are tragic circumstances and our hearts go out to everyone involved."
Rebecca Evans, Labour Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, spoke of her sadness at hearing news of the tragedy.
"I am shocked and saddened by what I am reading about the tragic death of a baby girl in Pontyberem today. My thoughts are with the family," she tweeted.
Alaskan malamutes were originally bred as sled dogs for work in the Arctic, but are now popular as family pets.
The Alaskan Malamute Club of the United Kingdom describes the breed as an "affectionate, friendly, loyal, devoted companion" on its website.
An ideal Alaskan malamute is "heavily boned, powerfully built", it says.
The death comes barely a week after 11-month-old Ava-Jayne Corless was killed by a dog as she slept.
The girl was in bed at a house in Blackburn last Monday when she was savaged by a pit-bull terrier.
The girl's mother Chloe King, 20, and her partner, Lee Wright, 26, were held on suspicion of manslaughter and subsequently bailed.
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