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6 October 2014, 13:20
Northants Police say they're still not in a position to name a six month old girl, who was killed by a dog in Daventry.
The baby died after being attacked by a dog at a property in Morning Star Road, Daventry, on Friday night.
In a statement, Northants Police added that "...family liaison officers are working closely with the family who are absolutely devastated by what has happened to their baby daughter."
Detective Inspector Stuart Hitchon is leading the investigation, and said: "My officers are working hard to piece together the events that led to the tragic death of a six-month old child.
We are supporting the family through what is an incredibly harrowing time.
They have made it very clear to us they do not want to disclose their child?s name to the press or release any pictures at the moment and we must respect their wishes.
In addition, they have said they will not issue any statement until they have come to terms with their grief.
I am appealing to members of the media to respect the family?s wishes and leave them to grieve at this devastating time."
Kendal Shepherd is a vet and animal behaviourist based in Kettering and has studied these type of attacks on people. Kendal says we'll never be properly able to work out why dogs attack people if we put the animals down straight away.
"What seems to be happening at the moment is an investigation into the type or breed of dog - this to me is completely irrelevant.
I believe it is of absolutely primary importance is to investigated the social history of the dog, how old it is and what training it's had and what it's socialisation history has been. We also need to know the social history of the family, we also need to know exactly the situation of how the dog interacted and fitted into the family and relatives."
Kendal added: "I would like to see (any dog involved in attacking a person) immediately and automatically put into a secure facility and not destroyed. Experts can then have access to that dog and kept alive to assess it as evidence. If it's put to sleep, it's far more difficult to determine it's behavioural traits."
We asked Kendal if she could offer advice to people with young children if they have a dog in the house or if they visit another home with a dog.
Kendal told Heart: "The bottom line is a dog could have been kept in the MOST responsible situation, socialised, it could have been taken to training classes, all the things we consider to be responsible ownership, but the bottom line is never EVER leave your child with a dog unattended for a microsecond in a situation where a dog can touch the child, that's the bottom line.
Apart from that, do NOT leave a child with a dog if the primary carer is not there; that is to say, if the actual person who is the primary feeder, carer, trainer of the dog is not there, do not leave a child with the dog."