Bella-Rae Birch died in hospital from her injuries following the attack.
A devastated family has paid tribute to their “much-loved” 17-month-old girl who died after being attacked by their new dog.
Bella-Rae Birch died in hospital from her injuries following the attack at her home in the Blackbrook area of St Helens, Merseyside, on Monday. A neighbor, who identified herself only as Jordan, pulled up at the house and gave CPR to Bella-Rae after hearing her screams and cries. Emergency services arrived soon after and Bella-Rae was taken to hospital. Tragically, she later died of her injuries. Police said Bella-Rae had lost her life in the most "unimaginably terrible circumstances", adding the community had "woken up to the most tragic news". In a statement, Bella-Rae's family said, "As a family we would like to thank the community for their support. We would ask that we are now allowed some space and time to try and come to terms with the tragic loss of our much-loved Bella-Rae. She will be sadly missed but never forgotten."
The 17-month-old girl was killed by the animal in her own homehttps://t.co/99Gfn7d803— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchonews) March 22, 2022
Officers said her "absolutely devastated" family had only bought the dog a week prior. They are now carrying tests to see if the animal was an illegal breed and plan to identify the animal's previous owners as part of the investigation. According to BBC, Supt Steve Brizell said the toddler's death had "left a family and a community grieving and in complete shock". "Bella-Rae has lost her life in the most unimaginably terrible circumstances," he said. "At this stage we understand that the family dog they had bought just a week earlier has attacked Bella-Rae inside the family home. Bella-Rae was taken by ambulance to hospital by paramedics but despite the best efforts of police officers at the scene, paramedics and doctors sadly Bella-Rae died as a result of her injuries." The dog was handed over to the police and has since been killed.
TRIBUTE | The family of 17-month-old Bella-Rae Birch, who tragically died following a dog attack in St Helens on Monday (21 March), have paid tribute to their "much-loved" and "sadly missed" little girl.— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) March 22, 2022
Read more here: https://t.co/RRsoITIFEo pic.twitter.com/iTxLunon0H
A neighbor who helped to give CPR shared, "The parents doted on the children. It's too upsetting to say anything else." Joanne Matthews said she saw an ambulance outside the house and then about 10 police vehicles came to the area. "I saw them bring the dog out. I couldn't tell what breed it was but from the back it looked like a Staffordshire bull terrier or pit bull," she said. The 53-year-old added that the toddler was "a beautiful little girl". "I'd see the family in passing, just to say hello, and they were always very pleasant," she said. Another neighbor, who did not want to be named, said she got home after police had arrived. "The mum was on the field at the front of the house crying. She was hysterical," she said. "It is usually very quiet here and safe for children, but when you hear something like this has happened it is so distressing."
Cover Image Source: Twitter | MerseyPolice