South Wales 'dog death' baby only six days old
3:07pm Tuesday 18th February 2014 in News
A BABY girl whose death prompted police to seize the family dog was just six days old.
Police said the baby - who has not yet been named - died at the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff this morning, after emergency services were called to a home in Pontyberem in Carmarthenshire.
Chief Inspector Ieuan Matthews of Dyfed-Powys Police 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."
The dog seized from the property was an Alaskan malamute, police confirmed. There has been no confirmation of the types of injuries suffered by the baby, or the possible cause.
The chief inspector said: "As you know, we are investigating the sudden death of a baby at a property in New Road, Pontyberem.
"We were called by the Welsh Ambulance NHS Trust just before 8.30am this morning, and the baby was taken by heli-med to the Heath Hospital.
"Sadly, she was later pronounced dead at University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff.
"The family dog - an Alaskan malamute - has been seized by police in connection with the ongoing inquiry. I can confirm that this dog is not listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act."
He 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."
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.
Alan Lewis, chairman of Pontyberem Community Council, said: "We are only a village of 2,500 to 3,000.
"It is a huge shock for the particular community. Our thoughts go to the family involved, obviously.
"From what I understand, the police are still continuing their investigations and the area is cordoned off."
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 the 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.
Rebecca Evans AM, Labour Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, had spoken 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 said.
Other social media users wrote messages of support to the baby girl's family on Twitter.
Joseph Dennis tweeted: " Such a tragedy to hear about the death of the baby in Pontyberem. My though go out to the friends and family of those effected! #RIP".
Twitter user @char_petty wrote: " RIP to little baby in Pontyberem, thoughts go out to the family and friends. Devastating news".
Gemma O'Driscoll tweeted: "Horrendous news from Pontyberem. Has shocked the whole community."