The family of seventeen-month-old Bella-Rae Birch wanted to get a dog. Because they loved the idea of having a happy-go-lucky pooch running around the property, Birch’s parents bought a dog and brought the canine home, and introduced it to the baby. Unfortunately, the dog was unable to stay safe around the infant, mauling the seventeen-month-old “beautiful” baby girl and killing her in a tragedy that has struck her family at the core of their being.

The mauling occurred on Monday afternoon in the family’s home at Bidston Avenue in Blackbrook, St Helens, Merseyside in the United Kingdom. The attack occurred around 3:50 pm. The baby girl was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital, but she was unable to survive the brutal injuries she had received during the dog attack.

Neighbors noticed mother Treysharn Bates standing outside of the family home while “crying hysterically.” She was clearly “devastated” by the brutal incident. Family members and friends arrived at the family’s home with flowers in the wake of the tragedy to show their support and make it clear that they loved little Bella-Rae with all of their hearts and that she would be sorely missed.

Bella-Rae’s family has since turned to social media to express their grief, explaining that the seventeen-month-old was “much loved” and “will be sadly missed but never forgotten.”

Bella-Rae’s family released a statement through police that said: “As a family, we would like to thank the community for their support. We would ask that we are now allowed some space and time to try and come to terms with the tragic loss of our much-loved Bella-Rae. She will be sadly missed but never forgotten.”

The dog that attacked Bella-Rae has been put down. Now, authorities are investigating the dog’s previous owner and are looking to see if the pooch violated the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Neighbors described the breed of the dog as either a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or Pitbull Terrier.

A trainee paramedic, identified only as Jordan, who lived near the attack, returned home to find “around twenty police cars” parked on the street. She dropped what she was doing and rushed over to perform CPR on the baby girl until on-duty paramedics could take over.

Jordan said: “I pulled up in my car. I had been getting my kids from school. I heard screaming, and I ran over. I tried to help. People were everywhere. They were crying and screaming. The baby wasn’t well. I tried to help her. ‘I started CPR, which I did for around 30 seconds. It was just myself. Then the paramedics took over. The parents were hysterical. I didn’t see the dog. We don’t really go up there. I don’t know how I feel now.”

In a statement, Merseyside Police Superintendent Steve Brizell said: “Bella-Rae has lost her life in the most unimaginably terrible circumstances, and our thoughts are first and foremost with the family and the wider community at this devastating time.”