A Virginia family who kept a 3-year-old wolf-hybrid dog as a pet is now in mourning.
Lee County Sheriff Gary Parsons told WJHL it started on Wednesday afternoon when the family's 8-day-old newborn was asleep in her bassinet.
The parents heard the baby girl start crying in the next room, but by the time they got there it was too late. Their “wolf hybrid, fairly large dog” was standing over the bassinet.
Parsons told WJHL:
“The child, according to the statements, was in a bassinet. There was blood in the bassinet where the dog had attacked the child. It was very serious injuries to the upper body and the head. I mean, the child had been seriously mauled by the animal.”
The newborn was rushed a local hospital and later airlifted to the UT Medical Center in Knoxville, but passed away around 4 p.m., WATE reports.
Now the parents could facing charges for failing to protect the baby girl from their wolf-hybrid.
Parsons called their actions “reckless” and is working with social services and animal control to determine if endangerment or neglect charges need to be filed. He said:
“I'm concerned about whether that child was protected. So, the tough part of it for me is who is in the right and who's in the wrong. You hate to charge parents that are grieving over a child, but at the same time, you have to consider the rights of the child,”
According to Virginia law, wolf-hybrid dogs may be kept as pets as long as they have “adequate confinement.”
The family, who has not been publicly identified, had two dogs and two other children in the home at the time.
The wolf-hybrid dog was euthanized after the incident, according to WATE.
It's unclear what may have prompted the attack, but the investigation is still ongoing, said Parsons.