A dog that fatally attacked a six-month-old girl in England was an illegal American pit bull.
The baby was killed by the dog at her mother’s home in Daventry, Northamptonshire, last Friday night.
Chief Inspector Tom Thompson, of Northamptonshire Police, said the results of a post-mortem on the dog showed it “was an American pit bull, a prohibited breed under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act”.
The girl, who has not been identified by police, was confirmed dead shortly after the attack on the town’s Timken estate. She was being cared for by her maternal grandmother, who suffered bite injuries while attempting to protect the baby.
The dog was destroyed at the scene.
Mr Thompson refused to be drawn on whether anyone had been arrested in connection with potential offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act, which makes it illegal to own, breed, sell or trade American pit bulls.
The officer said: “Extensive inquiries are taking place to ascertain if any offences have occurred.
“This continues to be a complex and highly unusual investigation which has required significant resource within force and drawn on national expertise in the area of dangerous dogs.
“But at the heart of it is a baby girl whose life has tragically been taken away in the most horrific of circumstances.
“In addition to our ongoing investigation, we have been concentrating our efforts on providing support for a grieving family who have been left devastated by this.
“The family have made it very clear that they do not want us to name their child. We must remember that they’re grieving, they’re in shock.
“They have lost a child in the most tragic circumstances and we really must respect their wishes.”
People in Daventry had been “deeply affected” by what happened to the baby, said Mr Thompson, who stressed that such incidents were thankfully extremely rare.
In their statement, the baby’s relatives said: “The family wish to say at this point that we are totally devastated and in complete shock for the tragic loss of our little princess and ask that we are left alone to grieve at this horrific time.”
Police have referred the circumstances of the death to a serious case review committee, which will meet next month to consider whether it should be investigated by Northamptonshire’s Safeguarding Children Board.
An inquest will be formally opened by the Northamptonshire coroner next Wednesday.