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Neighbors React to Pit Bull's Deadly Attack on Toddler

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POSTED: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 6:36pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 7:00pm

Tuesday's awful tragedy involving the mauling death of a toddler left a lot of uncertainty concerning the family dog's previous behavior.

Why was a 15-month baby girl allowed to be in a backyard with a family pitbull, when the dog mauled and killed her? 

Did the toddlers grandmother know if the dog had an aggressive history?

The family's pit bull mauled and killed 15-month-old baby girl Jazilyn Mesa. The baby's grandmother, Leticia Mesa was watching the baby girl and left her alone for a moment. Within seconds, the dog attacked the infant. When the grandmother returned to the backyard, she tried to pull the pit bull off and screamed for help. A neighbor overheard the commotion and grabbed his gun, aiming at the dog but instead accidentally shot the grandmother in the leg.

Newschannel 9 went to the family's home and was able to speak with the uncle of the victim. He said the parents were unavailable at the time because they were out preparing for the baby's funeral. He also told NC9 the grandmother, who did not suffer life-threatening injuries from the gunshots, was on her way back home from the hospital.

Jose Gomez, another neighbor of the family, said he was working in his garage when the incident happened.

"I was working in the garage and I didn't hear the firing or anything because I have the radio," said Gomez. "It's impossible to believe such thinks like that happened. Its just really sad. It really hurts my heart." 

Gomez  didn't know the family at all, however he saw the dog on a walk a few days prior to the attack and was fearful of the aggression he demonstrated at the time. 

"Well he was coming after me when I picked up the paper and he had to hold 'em and then he took off with the dog," said Gomez.

He added that everyone in the neighborhood was afraid of that dog.

It wasn't clear if the dog had shown aggressive patterns with the family, however. 

"Pit bulls are very very popular animals right now," said Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Julie Gray. "They are large massive dogs with very strong jaws. With that said, the majority of them are very good pets, very gentle and kind, however we have to remember all of our pets are animals." 

That is an important fact around children, Dr. Gray said. Anyone with children under their teens should never be left alone with a large animal without supervision.

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