Family dog kills three-month-old infant

December 20, 2010 2:52:44 PM PST
A 3-month-old girl sitting in her infant swing was attacked and mauled to death by one of the family's nine dogs. It happened Sunday afternoon at the family's home on Caruso Forest Drive in northwest Harris County.

Investigators are still asking questions in the baby girl's death and some say the attack was highly unusual, even for a dog of a more aggressive breed.

The three-bedroom house where the fatal dog attack happened is on a quiet street lined with small family homes; not the kind of place you might expect to find nine dogs, mostly Rottweilers or Rott mixes.

"The mother had stated to our 911 operators that a large Rottweiler had mauled and bitten the 3-month-old infant daughter," said Deputy Thomas Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

The mother, Alva Vaughn, told investigators that she had taken one dog into a bathroom to wash it around 4pm when another dog pushed his way into the house and attacked the infant, who'd been left in her baby swing.

"Upon our arrival, EMS had started CPR on the infant child. The infant had sustained numerous lacerations and bite marks on the arms and upper body," said Deputy Gilliland.

The baby was pronounced dead at Willowbrook Methodist Hospital at 5:15pm.

We talked to the baby's father, Martinez Alavingris, who didn't want to go on camera, but told us the baby's mother is very distraught.

Authorities took all nine dogs to Harris County Animal Control, where they are in a 10-day quarantine.

Over at the Bureau of Animal Regulationand Care, one animal control officer told Eyewitness News the attack sounds highly unusual.

"You can't judge the family unless you know exactly what happened and what the background leading up to the incident was and definitely you can't judge the dog breed," said Chris Glaser of BARC.

Alavingris told us there were two dogs out of the nine who had problems with the baby, and were kept away from her.

There is no county ordinance limiting the number of dogs in residences, and right now the Harris County Sheriff's Office says there will likely be no charges filed.

"As of this time right now, we're looking at it as a tragic accident," Deputy Gilliland said.

There was only one call to animal control about the dogs -- in 2008 there was one complaint about a Rottweiler running loose.


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