A 17-month-old girl who died after a dog attack at her home in Blackbrook, St. Helens on Monday, has been named by Merseyside police as Bella-Rae Birch.
Neighbors have spoken of their shock after the toddler, described as a “beautiful little girl”, died after being looted by a newly acquired dog.
Police were called to an address at 3:50 p.m. Monday afternoon after a report that Bella-Rae had been attacked in her own home by a dog. The child was taken to the hospital, where she died of her injuries.
Speaking outside the house Supt Steve Brizell said the toddler had lost his life in the “most unimaginably horrific circumstances, and our thoughts are first and foremost with the family and the wider community.”
Specialized family liaison officers provided support, he said. The incident had left “a family and a community in mourning and in complete shock”.
Brizell said the dog, which has been euthanized, had been with the family for a week after it was purchased. It will be forensically examined to determine its breed and to determine if it was permitted under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
“We are working to identify all the previous owners of the dog so we can determine its history.”
A neighbor, Joanne Foster, said: “She was such a beautiful little girl who tumbled around. I saw the family in passing, just to say hello, and they were always very pleasant.”
She said she first saw an ambulance arrive at the house followed by about 10 police cars. “I saw them bring the dog out. I could not see what breed it was, but from behind it looked like a Staffordshire bull terrier or pit bull.”
Another neighbor, who asked not to be named, said she came home around 4.30pm to find the area busy with police.
“It’s usually very quiet and safe for children, but when you hear something like this have happened, it’s so disturbing,” said the neighbor.
Police have urged anyone who has witnessed events in Bidston Avenue, or have information about the dog, to report.
Anyone with information can contact Merseyside Police via its social media desk, @MerPolCC, or “Merseyside Police Contact Center” on Facebook with reference 22000196837.