South Wales 'dog death' baby girl is named
5:46pm Tuesday 18th February 2014 in Gwent news
A baby girl whose death prompted police to seize the family dog has been named as Eliza-Mae Mullane.
Dyfed-Powys Police were called to New Road, Pontyberem in Carmarthenshire at 8.30am today.
Six-day-old Eliza-Mae was airlifted to the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff, where she was pronounced dead.
Officers seized the family dog, an Alaskan malamute - not listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act - from the property.
The cause of Eliza-Mae's death has not yet been released and police say investigations are still at an "early stage".
A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police said: "The police investigation is ongoing. We are not in a position to confirm the exact cause of death or the injuries to the baby at the moment.
"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.
"The parents have not been interviewed by the police, this morning arrangements were made for them to be taken to the hospital to be with their baby."
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 had 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."
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."
Mr Lewis described Pontyberem as "an ex-mining community village".
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 tweeted.
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."
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