17-month-old girl sadly dies in dog attack

17-month-old girl sadly dies in dog attack

A 17-month-old girl has sadly died after being attacked by the family dog in their own home.

Bella-Rae Birch died in hospital after the attack in St Helens at about 15:50 GMT on Monday, Merseyside Police said.

Officers said her “absolutely devastated” family had only bought the dog a week ago.

Police will now carry out tests on the animal, which was killed by officers, to see if it was an illegal breed, as well as trying to identify its previous owners.

The attack happened at the family’s home in Bidston Avenue in the Blackbrook area of St Helens.

Two police officers remain at the family’s home this morning.

Police are carrying out house-to-house inquiries and looking at CCTV footage while the investigation remains in its early stages.

As officers conduct tests to see what breed of dog it was and try to trace its previous owners, they are also reassuring neighbours who are shocked and distressed at the attack.

Anyone who witnessed anything in the area at the time, or who has information about the dog, has been asked to contact the police.

Det Insp Lisa Milligan said: “This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the child’s family at this devastating time.

“Whilst we are in the very early stages of the investigation into this extremely tragic incident we can confirm that the dog was only bought by the family a week ago and officers are working to identify the previous owners of the dog concerned and establish its history.

“Our officers will remain on Bidston Avenue in the coming days to provide reassurance to the local community and we will work tirelessly to establish the full circumstances.

“If you were in the Bidston Avenue area and witnessed anything, or have any information about the dog in question then please come forward speak to one of our officers.

“Our officers take the issue of dangerous dogs very seriously. Over the past years, we have worked proactively with the five local authorities in Merseyside to ensure prohibited dogs are taken off the streets.”

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.