A three-week-old baby has been mauled to death by their family dog while his mum went out for a family event following a bereavement.
After the attack by the dog named Tricky, said to be Patterdale terrier, baby Reggie Blacklin was rushed to hospital but efforts made by the doctors to save him proved abortive.
His family have said they are “trying to cope” with the immense tragedy of losing little Reggie, who lived at Falkland Road with his parents Maria Blacklin and Ryan Young, a builder.
The parents are said to be “distraught” after the tragedy which happened at their home at 4.15am on Saturday, June 20, 2015.
Speaking about the incident, a family member said, “We are trying to cope with this the best we can.”
The killer dog is being kept in kennels and there is a high probability that it would be destroyed.
Northumbria Police said a 30-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident.
“We are carrying out enquiries to establish the circumstances,” said the police.
Superintendent Gillian Mitchell said, “This is obviously a very tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family of the baby at such a difficult time.
“We are carrying out enquiries to establish the circumstances of the incident and will have extra officers in the area to allow this to be done.
“Officers will also be on patrol to offer reassurance to the local community who may be concerned.”
A family member, who did not want be identified, told Sunderland’s Chronicles that the baby’s mother was not in the house at the time of the attack, and added that she never left her son alone with the dog.
The source said she had been at a family event following a bereavement, and had returned to find the distressing scene.
Neighbours yesterday spoke of their shock at the death of Reggie, who is believed to have four brothers and sisters.
Another source who preferred anonymity said, “I know terriers very well. I think the dog had become jealous of the baby and that is why this has happened.
“It was Ryan’s dog as far as I’m aware. He is a lovely lad, hard-working and an excellent father. He will be devastated.”
Additionally, a 50-year-old criminal psychologist, Paul Tweddle, who lives opposite the family in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, said, “They are a caring couple in their 30s and are a lovely family. This is a complete tragedy.
“I see the terrier from time to time. Sometimes I see it clambering at the fence and it gets out so I shout to Ryan and he comes and gets it.
“It is a tiny dog and I cannot say whether or not it is dangerous. Sometimes appearances can be deceptive.
“I am so shocked. It should be such a happy time with a new baby. I have children myself, so you can imagine how I am feeling.”
Further speaking, another neighbour, Denise Haley, 59, a grandmother whose six-week-old grandson is named TJ, said, “Maria was in the house a few weeks ago with Redgie. She is a lovely girl and I simply do not know how she will cope with this tragedy.
“I am scared of any dog but that dog seemed okay. It is a tiny dog and brown in colour.
“I am in total shock – me and my daughter have been really upset about it. We grabbed TJ straight away and gave him a huge hug.”