An eight-day-old baby has died after being attacked by his family’s pet terrier. Harry Harper is understood to have suffered a crushed skull after being bitten just once by the Jack Russell-cross. The animal has since been destroyed. Yesterday it was unclear which family members were in the room at the time of the incident. Neighbours said the child’s mother, Mikayla Bell, ran out of the house screaming ‘My baby, my baby!’, following the tragedy on Tuesday morning. The pet, named as PJ by residents, was one of two dogs kept at the three-bedroom semi where Miss Bell lived with her own parents and younger siblings.
Eight day old Harry Harper died after being bitten by a Jack Russell dog while staying at his grandparents' house in Ketley, Shropshire
Just over a fortnight before giving birth, Miss Bell, 19, had tweeted how the dog had ripped the eye off one of the family’s soft toys. Police yesterday said Harry’s death appeared to be a ‘tragic accident’. Officers are examining the possibility that the dog may have attacked the infant after becoming jealous at his introduction to what the animal considered to be its territory.
Grandad Gordon Bell with daughter Mikayla and grandson Harry who died after being bitten yesterday
Jack Russell breeders and an animal behaviour expert agreed the dogs could be both possessive of their existing family unit and jealous of new additions to the family. Harry’s mother and father, Tom Harper, 19, were being comforted by their parents and police family liaison officers. One neighbour said at least one of the two dogs kept by the family was ‘very vicious’. Nigel Pitchford yesterday said Miss Bell had brought her first child home from hospital only a few days before the tragedy. Mr Pitchford, 71, said: ‘It’s very sad news – the whole street is shocked to hear what has happened. The dog is one of two kept at the house as family pets. I often saw Mikayla’s younger twin sisters walking them in the evenings. I know one of the dogs is very vicious. I tried to post a Christmas card through the letterbox last year and it went for my hand as I posted it through. It was only small but a vicious little thing.’
A police car sits outside the house in Ketley, where Harry Harper was bitten by a dog yesterday morning. He later died in hospital
Miss Bell lives at the semi-detached property in Ketley, Shropshire, with parents Gordon, 42, and Teresa, 40, a shop worker, and three of her siblings. Her brother Jamie, a 24-year-old carpet fitter, lives around the corner. It is unclear whether Mr Harper, a trainee electrician who lives in nearby Shifnal with his parents Andrea and Neville, was still in a relationship with Miss Bell, a part-time model who is one of six children. She gave birth to 7lb Harry on November 12 and posted pictures of her new baby on Twitter, describing the infant as ‘my life’.
Police believe that Harry Harper, pictured, died as a result of the single dog bite, but are awaiting results of a formal post mortem
Heartbreakingly, just one day before her son was killed, the teenager wrote: ‘Not gonna lie this little boy gets far too many kisses.’ The teenager’s profile on the social networking site also contained two pictures of a terrier-type dog captioned ‘my doggy’, posted within the last six months. Mrs Bell was so delighted at becoming a grandmother that the day after Harry was born she told a friend she couldn’t ‘keep my hands off him’. The family of Harry told yesterday how they had ‘no words’ to describe the pain they were experiencing after the loss of the tot.
New mother Mikayla Sonya, pictured left, posted this picture of her feeding baby Harry, right, on her Twitter feed
In a statement issued through West Mercia Police, they said: ‘We are absolutely devastated by Harry’s death and have no words to describe the loss we have suffered. ‘At the present time we have no wish to speak publicly about yesterday’s events and would ask that we are left in peace to grieve and begin to deal with our loss.’ Mrs Harper, a nursery nurse, later described the family as being ‘numb’ with grief.
Harry's mum, Mikayla, pictured, is a part time model
Harry's parents, mother Kayla, left, and father Tom Harper, pictured right
Angela McKenzie, a Jack Russell breeder from Carlisle, said the breed could become possessive of toys, family members or other pets in their environment. ‘They may happily live with a cat, but go after other cats in the neighbourhood, the same with children,’ she said. Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene of the tragedy just after 8am on Tuesday. Harry was taken to The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, Shropshire, but was pronounced dead shortly after being admitted. A post-mortem examination to establish the exact cause of death will take place today. Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, of West Mercia Police, said: ‘Our investigation is ongoing but it appears that the baby died as a result of a dog bite.’
THE JACK RUSSELL TERRIER: A BIG DOG IN A SMALL DOG'S BODY
Source: Daily Mail UK