Merced County, Calif. (KMPH News) - A one year old boy has died after being mauled by a dog. The Merced County Sheriff's office says a 65-pound Pit Bull locked his jaws around the child's throat and would not let go. The youngster was under the care of his babysitter at the time.
It happened at around 9:30am in Delhi Friday. The Merced Sheriff's dispatch received a frantic 911 call from a home on the 9600 block of Donovans Way in. On the line was a hysterical woman.
"Unfortunately, the phone call was cut off and we found out later why," Sheriff Mark Pazin said.
According to investigators the 21 year-old woman was babysitting a 17-month old boy when she left him alone for a few moments. That's when her Pit Bull got a hold of the little boy and dragged him into the back yard.
"When the babysitter heard the commotion she went outside to the back yard to see what was occurring then grabbed a large barbecue fork and started to hit the pit bull hoping it would release the toddler," Pazin said.
Once the animal let go, she put the baby in her car and drove towards the hospital. Sheriff Pazin said his deputies thought they were stoping an erratic driver when they were faced with a life and death situation.
"One of our deputy's sees her driving erratically, she pulls over and our officer is confronted with a blood soaked 17 month-old who is bleeding profusely," Pazin said.
The little boy was airlifted to Children's Hospital Central California in Madera where he passed away. Doctors say the younger had gashes on his face and throat.
The dog was taken into custody.
"I'm very, very sorry for the family. Animal Control is going to do their part by maintaining the dog in a safe and secure environment. So, it can't get out and hurt anybody," Kristi Caseri with Merced County Animal Control said.
Caseri describes the dog as a male Pit Bull mix, about four or five years old.
"We have him in quarantine," Caseri said. "He'll be quarantined for ten days from the day of attack which was today, unless the owner is willing to sign the dog over - then we could euthanize the dog early."
The relationship between the babysitter and the child's family has not been made public. Sheriff Pazin said no charges have been filed at this time against the babysitter.
"The incident is still under investigation," Pazin said. "Unfortunately, there is no happy ending to this story."
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