The mother of a 26-day-old infant was arrested on Tuesday in relation to her dog fatally mauling her infant son at her northwestern Indiana home earlier this year, according to a report.
The 38-year-old Lafayette woman is identified as Jennifer Connell and was charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury, the Journal and Courier reported.
The pit bull mix acted aggressively prior to the incident towards Connell’s teenage son, as well as a second dog that lived at the house, the outlet reported, citing a probable cause affidavit.
The baby boy, Julian Connell, died of injuries sustained after the Jan. 25 incident that occurred at the family’s home on Greenbrush Street, located about 60 miles north of Indianapolis.
In the early morning that day, the dog, named “Maisie,” attacked the family’s second dog, a beagle mix, in Connell’s bedroom where Julian was sleeping, The Indy Channel reported citing authorities.
After Connell’s teenage son heard the altercation between both dogs, he managed to remove the beagle mix from the room, only to return to the room a short time later to find Maisie standing over Julian with blood on its mouth and chest, according to the report.
Police said the pit bull attacked the baby after Connell’s teen son removed the second dog. The family said Maisie acted so aggressively neither she nor her teen son managed to get near the animal and save the boy.
Lafayette Police Department officers were forced to shoot the dog after they arrived at the scene in order to get to Julian. All life-saving efforts were unsuccessful and Julian was declared dead shortly afterward.
Officials said Julian died from wounds Maisie inflicted on his head and neck.
Apart from Connell’s charge of causing bodily injury, she is also accused of keeping her children in an environment described by investigators as “unsanitary conditions.” An officer who worked on the case said the house had “piles of dog feces” and a “terrible odor” with trash spread all over the house and bodies of decaying mice, The Indy Channel reported.
Connell told detectives she was trying to find a new home for the pit bull after it started acting aggressively toward the family and the other dog, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The Associated Press was unable to determine Wednesday evening if Connell has an attorney. Her first trial appearance date has not been set, according to court records.
Pit bulls, and any dog deemed to look like one despite not having any pit-bull DNA, are the most prevalent in shelters, according to a study (pdf).
Dogs labeled as “pit bulls” spend more than three times longer in a shelter than similar-looking dogs not deemed to be pit bulls, reports The Washington Post.
“Pit bulls are left at shelters in record numbers—and since they are difficult to adopt out, reputable shelters (that don’t slam the door in the dogs’ faces) are finding that they must euthanize more pit bulls and pit bull mixes than all other dogs combined,” animal rights group PETA said.
Research On Dog Bite Incidents
About 1,000 U.S. citizens require emergency care treatment for serious dog bite injuries on a daily basis, according to Dogsbite.org.
Annually, about 9,500 citizens are hospitalized due to dog bite injuries.
In a 13-year analysis, the website says that of 433 fatal dog attacks in the United States, pit bulls contributed to 66 percent, or 284 deaths. Rottweilers, the second on the list, inflicted 10 percent of attacks that resulted in human death, the report says. German shepherds accounted for 4.6 percent of fatal attacks. Mixed-breed dogs accounted for 3.9 percent and the American bulldog was next at 3.5 percent, the report said. Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs accounted for 3.2 percent of deaths. Last on the list were Huskies, which accounted for 3 percent of fatal attacks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog and their injuries can be more severe. Over half of dog bite injuries occur at home with dogs that are pets of their victims.
“As the number of dogs in the home increases, so does the likelihood of being bitten. Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home,” the agency stated. “Among adults, men are more likely than women to be bitten by a dog.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.