Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
A newborn baby who was fighting for his life after enduring a savage dog attack has died in a hospital in New Zealand.
According to reports from the NZ Herald, on Sunday 26 October 2020, the baby, believed to be just one day old, was bitten by a rottweiler at a home in Hamilton in the country’s Waikato’s region.
At the time, the young boy’s mother had gone to the toilet.
The infant suffered critical injuries during the strike and around 7pm was rushed to Waikato Hospital by St John Ambulance.
Overnight, the baby remained in a critical condition, fighting for his life in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
However, he was not able to recover, with police confirming the following day that the days-old infant had died from the dog attack.
“Sadly, yes – the baby passed away overnight,” police confirmed.
“The matter will be referred to the coroner.”
In a statement released by Hamilton City Council, animal control manager Susan Stanford said her staff had been contacted by the police shortly after the incident.
“Staff collected the dog and it is now secured at the council’s animal control facility,” Ms Stanford said.
“Further decisions regarding the animal will be informed by the ongoing police investigation.
“This is a traumatic time for all involved and our thoughts are with the families and individuals involved.”
“He was all dirty and had bits of blood on him”: Witness Recalls Deadly Dog Attack on Days-Old Baby
At the time of the incident, a neighbour had witnessed (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/fatal-dog-attack-newborn-baby-bitten-at-hamilton-house-has-died/763RL3KFVCUUU65PJ5J3PAAOTQ/) the mother sitting on the grass verge next to the road, tenderly cradling her fatally-injured child.
Karen, who only wanted to be referred to by her first name, had rushed down the street to help the distraught mother when she noticed the commotion.
According to her account, the incident unfolded when one of the family’s two dogs apparently grabbed and mauled the small boy.
It is understood the dog also attempted to bury the baby.
Karen had actually been at the property earlier that day because the rottweiler had escaped.
Familiar with the dog, she had offered to help the family out by putting him back in the fenced section.
When Karen returned the dog, the mother had shown her the newborn, expressing how happy she was about him being born the night before.
“He was just so little,” Karen told publication Stuff, speaking of the child (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/123210180/he-was-just-so-little--witness-tells-of-fatal-dog-attack-on-newborn).
“He obviously meant the world to her.”
Later that evening, Karen noticed the upheaval down the street but simply assumed the dog had escaped again, wondering if it had maybe been hit by a car.
However, as she approached the home, she saw the new mother sitting on the grass, holding her bloodied baby.
“I sat beside the mother and put my arm around her,” she said.
“The baby boy was crying really hard.
“He was all dirty and had bits of blood on him.”
When Karen later heard the baby had passed away, she collapsed.
She said the tragedy now haunts her, acknowledging, “The whole thing is horrible, every time I close my eyes, I just see him”.
The rottweiler was only two years old and is believed to be the second rottweiler the woman had owned.
The mother had only got the new dog recently.
Both animals were taken to the pound.
What You Should Know About Dog Attacks on a Person or Animal
The NSW Government (https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/public/dogs-cats/responsible-pet-ownership/dog-attack-reporting/) advises that when a dog attacks a person or animal, regardless of whether the attack happened on public or on private property, the incident needs to be reported to the local council.
Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, authorised officers – which include council officers and police officers – have a wide range of powers to deal with owners of attacking dogs.
This includes seizing dogs that have attacked.
As a dog owner, you are liable if your dog attacks a person or another animal.
The Companion Animals Act 1998 does provide certain protection to an owner whose dog attacks as a result of a person or an animal trespassing onto the property on which the dog is kept. However, other forms of liability still apply.
A dog is declared a “dangerous dog” where it:
- has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal (not including vermin), or
- has, without provocation, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (not including vermin).
A dog is declared a “menacing dog” where it:
- has displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than vermin), or
- has, without provocation, attacked a person or animal (other than vermin) but without causing serious injury or death.
If you have evidence that a dog is dangerous or menacing, it is advised to notify your local council.
Can Someone Else Remove Your Dog From Your Property?
Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, in certain situations, an authorised council officer or police officer is permitted to enter part of a property that is not used solely for residential purposes and seize a dog.
These circumstances include where:
- the owner consents; or
- the dog has attacked or bitten an animal or person and the owner is not there; or
- the dog has attacked or bitten an animal or person and the owner cannot bring the dog under effective control.
The authorised officer may enter the part of a property used solely for residential purposes where the owner gives consent or where a search warrant has been granted.
An authorised officer may also seize a dog at any time within 72 hours of an attack if the owner fails to keep the dog adequately secured or the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the dog will not be kept under effective control.
The Companion Animals Act 1998 is designed to give authorised officers the power to bring under control a dog that has attacked and is at risk of continuing to cause an immediate threat to public safety.
What Happens Where a Person Causes a Dog to Inflict Actual Bodily Harm or Grievous Bodily Harm?
In NSW, a person who causes a dog to inflict grievous bodily harm or actual bodily harm to another is guilty of an offence and can face jail time.
This is outlined in section 35A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which makes clear that a person who has control of a dog, and does any act that causes the dog to inflict grievous bodily harm (really serious injury) on another person, and is reckless as to the injury that may be caused to a person by the act, can face a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in jail.
Where, as per the above factors, the dog inflicts actual bodily harm (for example, bruising), this carries a maximum a penalty of up to five years imprisonment under the same section.
What You Should Know About Your Responsibility as an Owner When Taking Your Dog Out in a Public Place
In NSW, there are certain responsibilities that all dog owner should be aware of.
Under section 13 of the Companion Animals Act 1998, a dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person. Failure to do this can attract up to a fine of $11,000 if the dog has been declared a menacing or dangerous or restricted dog.
Click here for a full outline on dog owners’ responsibilities in NSW (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-and-penalties-for-causing-a-dog-to-inflict-harm-on-a-person-in-nsw/).
Have a question? Our lawyers appear across all courts. Speak to our criminal lawyers in Newcastle (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-lawyers-newcastle/), or Sydney CBD or Parramatta today.