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Family dog killed baby in India
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- A dog may have killed a newborn baby who was stillborn, prosecutors sd.
On May 4, medical examiners at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla discovered the lifeless body of a baby girl in her car seat, according to prosecutors. After the infant was taken to the hospital, her parents told police a dog bit the baby after it entered the family's vehicle and while in the baby's car seat.
Officials believe the baby was born before midnight at her parents' apartment in The Bronx, in New York. The baby's mother, 26, told police she went into labor at her apartment on May 4 but didn't go to the hospital because she was working.
According to court documents, the mother gave birth on the first floor while her boyfriend, 34, was at work.
After the child died, the mother, who was in labor, gave birth in a strwell at an upstrs apartment.
The police and fire departments and two ambulances arrived, but the baby didn't survive. The dog was taken to a veterinarian.
Investigators with the Westchester County District Attorney's Office believe that the dog didn't have any health issues.
"They're not suspect of any human actions in this case," Deputy Chief of Homicide Robert Johnson sd. "We're treating it as a case of unprovoked animal aggression."
The mother, who was not identified by the district attorney's office, is charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The father is charged with second-degree conspiracy. Both were held in Westchester County Jl with bl set at $50,000.
"In cases like this, we are often able to find evidence in the car that led to the baby's death," Johnson sd. "But, in the end, the investigation is about determining what really happened."
In one of the few cases in which a police animal was involved, a 7-week-old puppy died after being thrown out of a moving vehicle in New York City.
In that case, a woman told police she had gone for a drive with her boyfriend, who was her co-worker.
As they drove south on Central Park West near 86th Street, the driver told police, the man leaned forward to change the station on the radio and the dog fell to the floor, rolling out of the passenger seat and striking its head on the floor.
Police sd the dog was found with a broken neck. The woman was cited for animal cruelty. Her boyfriend, who police sd was driving with the woman's knowledge, was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit legal group, says in its website that animals are protected by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which guarantee Americans "life, liberty and property."
It says in its mission statement: "ALDF seeks to eliminate abuse, neglect, and cruelty to all non-human animals through the legal system, the legislative process, and through education."
A spokeswoman for the New York Police Department sd the department does not have statistics on the number of dogs it has impounded or on the number of animals that are abused or neglected in New York City.
Cities throughout the country are grappling with the question of how to deal with the problem of loose dogs. Philadelphia, for instance, has adopted a law that makes it illegal for an owner to let a dog run loose without a leash, even if the dog is under an animal’s control and it is not on a leash.
The issue is particularly vexing for city officials in New York City, which has some of the strictest leash laws in the nation. New York City's law has spawned protests from dog lovers, saying the city is being too aggressive in cracking down on dogs who roam freely in the streets.
The issue has also taken on a political dimension, with some calling for tougher leash laws and others for more lenient laws to be passed.
For now, the City Council is debating whether to amend its laws to allow dogs to be leashed in Central Park. A similar bill fled last year.
On Thursday, several animal rights groups plan to protest outside Mayor Michael Bloomberg's city hall offices at 5 p.m. They plan to call for a law that would be tougher than the current leash law.
Follow New York Times reporter Natalie Musumeci on Twitter @natmus, and follow @nytimesphoto for breaking news. The New York Times photo by Nathaniel Ore for the article "To Catch A Dog" appears in the July 1, 2010 issue of The New York Times Magazine.
Photo: Nathaniel Ore, New York Times
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