That poor mother... And the dogs... I just don't understand....
Family dogs maul toddler
Web-posted May 7, 2005
Mother finds girl in back yard after she had gotten out of the house
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
Of The Oakland Press
WATERFORD TWP. - A Waterford Township toddler was mauled to death by two dogs that were longtime family pets.
The mother of 2-year-old Samantha found her in the back yard of their home in the 2000 block of Oakdale just before 9:30 a.m. Friday. The girl was nonresponsive and later pronounced dead at North Oakland Medical Centers.
"I can only say that the officers described it as horrific," said Waterford Township Police Chief John Dean.
The family's two 5-year-old female huskies, Angel and Nanook, were quarantined in the county animal shelter Friday afternoon. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he planned to have the animals destroyed with either the family's permission or a court order. Rabies tests would also be conducted, he said.
"When a 2-year-old child is mauled and disemboweled by two animals, it's a very serious day in this community," he said.
Detectives were still trying to determine what prompted the attack.
Dean said no neighbors have complained to police about the dogs, which weighed 80 and 60 pounds. Samantha weighed 40 pounds.
Dean said the animals were calm when being taken from the house. He said no other dogs were involved.
"There's no history of these dogs being violent in any way," he said.
Dean said it is too early to know whether charges would be filed. The Oakland County Medical Examiner's office plans to conduct an autopsy today.
Dean said the child was last seen at 6:45 a.m. by her 17-year-old aunt before the aunt left for high school. The child's 24-year-old mother awoke and noticed the toddler wasn't in her bedroom. She called 9-1-1 on a cell phone after finding Samantha in the partially fenced back yard.
The toddler's grandparents and a child younger than Samantha also live in the house. Police were uncertain whether the grandparents were home at the time of the attack.
No one else was injured.
Police did not release Samantha's last name or the names of her family members. A police chaplain was called in to help console them.
On Friday afternoon, police were searching the orange-brick ranch with a bay window and an attached garage in the Drayton Woods subdivision.
Dean said the house was secure but has a doggie door large enough for a child of Samantha's size to fit through.
The incident upset even longtime officers, Dean said. Many of the responding officers are parents of young children, he said.
"I had some veteran officers that were pretty shaken up about this," he said.
According to a link on The Siberian Husky Club of Greater Detroit's Web site, the breed is alert, eager to please and has a friendly disposition.
It also warns: "Predatory instincts in the Siberian Husky are strong. While the Siberian is normally gentle and friendly with people and other dogs, owners must be aware that small animals in and around the home, such as squirrels, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters and cats, are potential victims of their strong predatory instinct."
A toddler-sized plastic play structure with a slide sat on the house's dandelion-dotted front lawn Friday afternoon. Several plastic trash bins near the street brimmed with garbage.
Neighbors said the people who lived there generally kept to themselves.
Hal Charters, who lives across the street, described the family as "quiet, kind of private people."
"They always seem cordial," said another neighbor, who declined to give her name. "I saw the mother playing outside with her kids a lot."
Another neighbor, who also declined to give his name, said he kind of liked the family's dogs and never noticed any problems with them.
He said they got loose from the back yard only once.
I have a feeling even more people are going to be giving me and Kia a wide berth when we take walks now.