A tragic situation has left a 3-week-old infant dead, and a family under investigation by CPS and the Grand Rapids Police Department. According to police records, Susannah Jean Murray was bitten by a dog while left unattended by family members. Officers say this kind of devastating tragedy is avoidable, as children should never be left alone with dogs.
Officers who investigated the incident say they were notified of the dog attack at 2 am by staff at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital. The baby had been brought in by family members after being found bleeding, and with a severe head injury. One of the family dogs had blood around it’s mouth at the time, and so family assumed that the dog had bitten the baby’s head.
Officers questioned the family, who explained that the baby had been left in a glider, which is similar to a swing and is meant to soothe an infant. The adults in the family were outside on the porch at the time. According to several media sources, the family says they had checked on the baby just five minutes before the incident, and she had been fine.
Susannah had emergency surgery at Helen Devos, but was pronounced dead seven hours later. An autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was a dog bite to the infant’s head. The family’s three dogs have been removed by officers and taken to the Kent County Animal Shelter.
The three dogs are currently being held under quarantine.
The three dogs are pit bulls, which some people have said is the reason for why one of them attacked the baby. Sergeant Terry Dixon of Grand Rapids Police Department made a statement to the press about the incident, and said that the breed of the dogs is not enough to warrant having them put down. “The breed of a pit bull, by itself, is not enough to condemn it, any dog can bite.”
Neighbors who live nearby, however, have told numerous news media sources that they are saddened but not surprised by the dog attack. Akilah Gordon, who lives nearby, told WZZM that the family’s three pit bulls are “so mean and vicious!” Hawa Abdi, another neighbor, agreed, saying that when the dogs would get out they chased people.
There is another child that lives with the family, which is why the police contacted CPS. Thus far, no charges have been brought, though police and CPS workers are still investigating. For now, officers intend to meet with the prosecutor’s office and discuss what, if any, charges may be applicable here.
As GRPD spokesman Sgt. Dixon pointed out in addressing the media, “This serves as a critical reminder to never leave a child unattended around a dog.” This is so true. While the family meant no harm to the baby, the prosecutor may still decide that leaving a child alone with a dog is negligent, which could lead to criminal charges.
As child abuse defense attorneys, we understand how easily a simple choice, or action can lead to devastating but unintended consequences. We know how quickly a well-meaning parent can be villified by CPS, and made to look abusive and cruel in court. Which is why we’ve dedicated ourselves to being parent advocates. We can help you fight for your future, and your family. Call us at 866 766 5245 today. We are here to help you.