SHELBY COUNTY, Tennessee – Two young children have died after being attacked by pit bulls inside a Shelby County home, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO).
The attack happened around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at a home on Sylvan Road near Shelby Forest State Park.
The dogs attacked a 2-year-old girl and a 5-month-old boy, the SCSO said.
The children died on the spot.
The pit bulls also attacked the children’s mother, who was rushed to Regional One in critical condition, SCSO said.
The dogs were taken to Animal Control, where they were later euthanized by Memphis Animal Services.
At 3:50 p.m. Oct. 6, the mother was upgraded to stable condition, SCSO said.
Animal shelter workers FOX13 spoke to said the tragic attack is a reminder that any animal can bite.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s small dogs or big dogs. We say if a dog has teeth, it can bite,” said Nina Wingfield, director of the Collierville Animal Shelter.
Wingfield turned his love for animals into life. But even she knows that they can sometimes be dangerous.
“If we think they might be a public safety issue and they’re already showing signs of being assaulted, we can put them on hold for 48 hours, and we invite the trainers to come in and maybe guide us to make the right euthanasia decisions,” she said.
While it’s still unclear what led to Wednesday’s attack, it highlights the importance of knowing the warning signs of aggression in dogs.
“Definitely snarl or growl, their body gets stiff when something happens to them, a wagging tail doesn’t always mean a friendly dog, so you have to watch out for that,” Wingfield said.
If your dog shows signs of aggression, Wingfield suggests hiring a dog trainer. She also said it was important for each member of a family to meet a new pet before adopting it.
“That way we can rule out which dogs are afraid of kids or whether kids are afraid of dogs, and then we feel like we’re making a good match,” she said.
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