Merseyside Police can confirm that officers are at an address in St Helens following the tragic death of a 17-month-old girl who had been attacked by a dog within her home.
At around 3.50pm we received a report that a child had been attacked by a dog at an address on Bidston Avenue in Blackbrook.
Emergency services attended and the child was taken to hospital where she sadly died as a result of her injuries.
The dog was handed over to police at the address and has been humanely destroyed.
The dog will be subject to further forensic examinations to determine the breed of dog and whether it is, or isn’t a legal breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991).
Officers remain at the scene on Bidston Avenue this evening and extensive CCTV, witness and house-to-house enquiries are carried out.
Detective Inspector Lisa Milligan said: “ This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the child’s family at this devastating time. The little girl’s parents and wider family are absolutely devastated and our specialist Family Liaison Officers are providing them with support at this horrendous time.
“Whilst we are in the very early stages of the investigation into this extremely tragic incident we can confirm that the dog was only bought by the family a week ago and officers are working to identify the previous owners of the dog concerned and establish its history.
“Our officers will remain on Bidston Avenue this evening and in the coming days to provide reassurance to the local community and we will work tirelessly to establish the full circumstances.
“If you were in the Bidston Avenue area this afternoon and witnessed anything, or have any information about the dog in question then please come forward speak to one of our officers.
“Our officers take the issue of dangerous dogs very seriously. Over the past years we have worked proactively with the five local authorities in Merseyside to ensure prohibited dogs are taken off the streets.“
Anyone with any information is asked to contact us via our social media desk @MerPolCC or 'Merseyside Police Contact Centre' on Facebook, with reference 22000196837.
Alternatively, you can call the independent charity @CrimestoppersUK anonymously, on 0800 555 111. You can also use their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.