Police seize ‘docile’ family dog after tragic death of baby girl

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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, Carmarthenshire, Mid Wales, at 8.30am yesterday.

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. She had lived at the address for around decade.

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 “heavily boned, powerfully built”, but “affectionate, friendly, loyal, devoted companion”.

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.”

He 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 pit-bull terrier as she slept in Blackburn last Monday. 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, has 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.