A one-day-old baby has died after the family dog tried to bury it in the garden.
Emergency services rushed to a family home in Hamilton, New Zealand on Sunday evening after reports that a child had been bitten by a dog.
The newborn was rushed to Waikato Hospital with critical injuries, but tragically police confirmed on Tuesday it had died overnight.
While the exact circumstances of the baby’s death are yet to be confirmed, horrific details have emerged from witnesses.
The baby’s mother, still wearing her hospital bracelet after giving birth less than a day prior, had gone to the toilet and momentarily left the infant alone.
In that time the family dog, believed to be a rottweiler, grabbed the baby in its mouth, dragged it outside and tried to bury it in the garden.
Brothers Takilesi and Junior Afamasaga rushed to help when they heard the woman crying for help.
“[The mother] was just trying to keep the baby awake, trying to keep it crying,” Takilesi told Newshub.
“She asked me for a cloth, so I just took off my hoodie and gave it straight to her.”
Junior added: “I feel like the dog just mistook the baby for a toy and just went about playing around, not knowing it was a newborn child.”
The baby’s death has been referred to the coroner, although police say they will continue to make inquiries.
The animal was seized and secured at the Hamilton City Council animal control facility. It’s unknown if the animal will be put down.
Hamilton City Council animal control manager Susan Stanford said the council was supporting the young victim and their family.
“This is a traumatic time for all involved and our thoughts are with the families and individuals involved,” she told the New Zealand Herald.
There were 4,958 dog attacks reuqiring hospitalisation in New Zealand between 2004 and 2014, data from the Ministry of Health has revealed.
The research found most attacks happen at home, with children under 10 deemed most vulnerable.