Reuben McNulty was attacked by his parent’s Staffordshire bull terriers in the early hours of Nov. 18, at his home in Cambridgeshire, England. He was 2 weeks old.
Reuben was being treated for severe head injuries, but died on Thursday, Dec. 13, in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, according to local media reports.
Police have confirmed that the two Staffordshire bull terriers, named Fizzy and Dotty, have been put down.
The dog breed is legal in the United Kingdom, although in the United States it sometimes comes under legal restrictions on what is termed “pit bulls.”
Five-week-old baby dies after being attacked by family dogs https://t.co/8wgj3podLd
— The Independent (@Independent) December 14, 2018
The attack happened in the family home near the cathedral city of Peterborough in the rural county of Cambridgeshire in the east of England.
The child’s parents are named in media reports as Daniel McNulty, 28, and his fiancée Amy Litchfield, 31.
The baby’s grandfather, Paul Litchfield, described the attack as a “freak accident.”
Speaking after the attack, while Rueben’s parents kept vigil in the hospital, Litchfield said, “People need to realise there’s always two sides to the story.”
“At the end of the day it’s just a big freak accident and everyone’s making a big thing of it,” he told Cambridgeshire Live.
“They’ve done nothing wrong and the way it’s being portrayed at the minute, they’re horrible parents. They ****** aren’t— they’ve been fantastic.”
Warning of Jealous Dogs
One neighbour told the Mirror that the couple treated the dogs like children. “When Amy was pregnant I said to Dan, ‘What are you going to do about the dogs?’ He told me, ‘The dogs are our babies.’”
A man who lives opposite the couple’s flat said he had warned the couple to be careful.
“[The father] was showing people his new baby because he was so proud of it,” he told the Metro on condition of anonymity.
“When he showed me the pictures, I said, ‘Be careful because those dogs might not be used to the baby. I know what dogs are like when they get jealous.’ He said, ‘I will do.’ He said, ‘Me and Amy were thinking about that anyway.’ I can’t work out what happened.”
According to the Independent, the police said, “A 28-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, both from Yaxley, who were arrested on suspicion of child neglect, have been released under investigation.”
The death is not being treated as suspicious, and has been passed over to the coroner.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a legal dog breed in the UK, although in the United States they fall under the general category of breeds referred to as “pit bulls.”
In the United States, the term “pit bull” typically refers to three specific breeds that have legal restrictions in some states: the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, and the Staffordshire bull terrier.
According to the British Kennel Club, the Staffordshire breed was named after the county of Staffordshire where the breed was developed. The club website notes, “Because of its early association with fighting it was, for some time, difficult to get recognition for the breed and it was not until the 1930s that the Kennel Club recognised the breed.”