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Babysitter’s dog fatally mauls toddler

POSTED October 23, 2009 9:05 p.m.
A Delhi family was mourning the loss of their young son after a babysitter’s pit bull viciously attacked the child Friday morning.
The 17-month-old boy died at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera Friday afternoon from injuries he suffered when the 65 pound pit bull bit him around his throat and dragged him around the yard, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department reported.
The investigation is ongoing, but at this point there have been no charges filed or arrests made, sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie said.
The incident began Friday morning when 911 operators received a frantic call from the 9000 block of Donovan Way in Delhi. The operator heard a woman’s hysterical voice before the line went dead, MacKenzie said. Sheriff deputies responded to the address to do a welfare check. When they arrived they saw blood pooled on the front step of the porch, but no one was at the residence.
A short distance away, at Swanson and Merced avenues, a sheriff’s deputy was pulling over a car that was driving erratically. The car pulled over to the side of the road and a woman jumped out of the car with the injured baby in her arms, MacKenzie said.
An ambulance responded to the scene and transported the child to Emanuel Medical Center, where it was air-lifted to the hospital in Madera. The child was pronounced dead a short time later, MacKenzie said.
The woman, who is in her early 20s, is the owner of the pit bull and she brought it with her when she came over to the Delhi residence to babysit the child, MacKenzie said.
It is not known what was happening just before the attack, but the woman told sheriff’s investigators that the dog suddenly lunged at the boy and drug him around the yard by the throat. She said she was only able to get the pit bull to release its grasp on the boy by stabbing it several times with a fork.
The woman called 911, but then hung up and put the baby in the car and headed towards a hospital, MacKenzie said.
It’s unknown if the babysitter is related to the 17-month-old boy. There were no other children at the home, MacKenzie said.
The dog was taken into the custody of Merced County’s animal control.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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