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A 13-month-old died after being bitten by his family’s dog before the animal was dramatically shot dead by a rookie cop.
The boy, named in local reports as Apollo Duplantis, was killed at his family’s home in Gentilly Woods, New Orleans.
The animal attack was reported at 6:46pm on Monday night (July 11) according to a local police report.
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The victim was rushed to hospital in a private car, but sadly doctors were unable to save him.
An officer from the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LASPCA) attended the scene and attempted to get the dog under control, but they were also bitten.
The police officer, reportedly a rookie who had only just graduated from the police academy, drew their weapon and shot the dog in order to prevent the LASPCA officer being injured.
The police officer, whose name has not been revealed, has since been put on desk duty pending a departmental investigation, which standard procedure whenever an officer fires a gun while on duty.
Eric Hessler, attorney for the officer, told local news site NOLA that his client "did exactly what he was trained to do and what he needed to do to protect the animal control officer.”
The dead boy’s mother, Amanda Brooks, posted an Instagram tribute to him on his first birthday last month. She described the little lad as “loud like my daddy, greedy like my mommy and smart like the both of them.”
Although police have not released any specific information about the animal involved, photographs on Ms Brooks’s Facebook page show a pit bull-type "American bully" dog which was named "Bear."
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Louisiana SPCA issued the following statement regarding the incident: “At approximately 6:54 p.m. on July 11th, the Louisiana SPCA’s New Orleans Humane Law & Rescue (NOHLR) team responded to an animal attack in the 5500 block of Seminary Place.
"The call placed to 911 described a 13-month-old child attacked by a mixed-breed family dog and severely injured. Our officer arrived on scene where the New Orleans Police Department was present and awaited a warrant to enter the property to seize the dog while the child was transported to receive immediate medical care.
“A second NOHLR officer arrived on scene before the warrant was acquired to assist. Once the warrant was obtained, the two NOHLR officers attempted to leash the dog through the backyard fence, but when the effort was unsuccessful they entered the backyard. With control poles the NOHLR officers attempted to leash the dog again. Before a leash could be secured on the dog, a NOHLR officer was attacked and called for help from the NOPD officers on the scene.
“NOPD entered the yard and saw the dog attacking a NOHLR officer. At that time, a NOPD officer discharged a service weapon striking the dog and killing it".
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Louisiana SPCA CEO, Ana Zorrilla said: “We are heartbroken that a toddler was killed by a dog attack last night. Our deepest sympathies go out to the grieving family,” says . ”The Louisiana SPCA places human life and safety first and foremost.”
“Currently the case is still an active investigation with collaboration between the NOHLR and NOPD.
“Unfortunately, accidents are never completely preventable, but the Louisiana SPCA urges parents and pet owners to teach both their children and pets the best ways to interact with one another. With proper training techniques and behaviours practiced, a significant portion of bite cases can be avoided.”
The New Orleans Police Department has not yet revealed whether any charges will be filed in connection to the boy’s death.
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