Triniti Harrell

Officer shoots pet dog after it attacks toddler girl, clenching its jaws down while shaking her like a ‘baby doll’: Police

A dog attack on a 1-year-old North Carolina girl Monday has left the toddler with severe injuries that could have been fatal if a quick-thinking officer didn’t intervene.

ABC 11 reports that the attack occurred on the back porch at a home off of the 1200 block of N.C. 43 North, located just outside of Rocky Mount. The little girl’s mother reportedly stabbed the dog during the attack in an attempt to save her child’s life.

“This animal was strong and she did try to stab it, beat it, and get him off and it did not work,” Edgecombe County Sheriff Cleveland Atkinson Jr. stated at a press conference.

A responding officer found the victim in apparent distress, with the baby being held between the dog’s jaws as it relentlessly shook her.  

“They described it as the pit bull shaking a doll baby,” Atkinson said. “That’s how aggressive it was.”

The officer subsequently fired two shots at the dog, identified as a 6-year-old “pit bull mix,” killing it.

“Officer Whitaker shot the dog twice with his service weapon,” Atkinson said. “He’s definitely a hero and he saved that baby’s life.”

The shots proved to be extremely risky due to the proximity of the dog and the child.

“That’s an awesome shot,” the sheriff added. “A lot of law enforcement officers would have been hesitant to take that shot. We’re looking at inches.”

The girl was airlifted from a local hospital to Vidant Medical Center, where she remains in serious but stable condition. 

“We ask that everyone keep the little girl and her family in their thoughts and prayers,” Atkinson said. “We hope for a full recovery for the little girl. No charges are expected in this matter.”

According to dogsbite.org, an organization dedicated to providing education about dangerous dog breeds, there were “39 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities” in 2017. “Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 900 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 75% (29) of these deaths,” the website states.

[Feature Photo: Triniti Harrell/Screenshot, Handout]