Toddler dies after pit bull attack

October 23, 2009 6:23:48 PM PDT
Anyone with, or around, little children knows that it only takes a second. Turn your back for just a moment and there could be a tragedy. That's what happened to a toddler in the Central Valley when a pit bull mauled him. That moment of inattention was all the dog needed to attack.

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It was at a home where Merced County investigators say a 17-month-old boy was viciously attacked by a 65 pound pit bull. Sheriff Mark Pazin says the boy's babysitter had gone to the restroom when the toddler wandered into her backyard. That's when the dog grabbed the little boy by the throat.

"Babysitter sees this, goes after the pit bull the best she can and finds a two-prong barbecue fork, tries to beat the pit bull into submission," said Pazin.

Investigators say the dog finally let go, and that's when the sheriff's office received a 911 call from the hysterical babysitter who then dropped the phone and tried driving the little boy to the hospital.

"She didn't know what to do, in an absolute frantic state. She gets into her vehicle, and this is when Deputy Cardenas sees her, pulls her over, and is literally handed this blood soaked 17-month-old toddler," said Pazin.

The deputy performed first aid until an ambulance arrived to take the toddler to a nearby hospital. He was later flown to Children's Hospital Central California where he was soon pronounced dead. A young mother who lives near the home where the attack happened says it is any parent's worst nightmare.

"When you get a babysitter, you want to be able to trust them, but things like that happening just makes moms worry," said neighbor Juana Ledesma.

Authorities say the pit bull is now under quarantine at the Merced County animal shelter and they are still investigating whether any criminal charges will be filed.

"We're going to review exactly what happened. If there's negligence, obviously we're going to submit it to the DA for his review to see if there's any applicable charges," said Pazin.

The babysitter's fiance says the pit bull actually belongs to his parents who just recently moved into this home with the young couple. He says he had never noticed it acting aggressively before.

As for his fiance, he says he hasn't spoken with her yet, but he can only imagine that she is devastated.

Information courtesy of our sister station in Fresno, KFSN.

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