14-Day-Old Boy Fatally Bitten 23 Times On Head By Family Dog That May Have Thought Baby Was A Squeaky Toy

A two-week-old boy was mauled to death by their family dog when his mom fell asleep on the sofa and his dad was smoking outside, an inquest has heard. 

In the early hours of Nov. 18, 2018, Reuben McNulty was sitting on a teddy bear ring on the sofa with his mother, Amy Litchfield, when their pet dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier bit him up to 23 times on the head. 

His father, Daniel McNulty had reportedly gone out for a smoke when the incident took place. He called emergency services after discovering  Reuben and the white dog called Dottie and aged around 6 – covered in blood at their flat in Yaxley, Cambridgeshire, UK. 

“I think the f***ing dog’s attacked him. My partner was asleep. I just heard crying,” Daniel told a 999 call handler, Cambridgeshire’s Area Coroner Simon Milburn said.

“He’s just bleeding, you know? I was like what the f***?”

The 14-day-old boy died three weeks later at Addenbrooke’s Hospital after suffering a severe traumatic brain injury and gastrointestinal failure. 

Reuben had up to 23 individual puncture marks on his head. Simon Newbury, a veterinary forensics expert said they came from “at least four to five bites or engagements” and “quite possibly as many as 18 to 23 if single punctures are single engagements each time”.

“It’s possible that Dottie saw Reuben as a small prey or a squeaky toy,” Newbury, told the inquest at Peterborough Town Hall.

“It’s possible that Dottie was stimulated into a predatory drive by crying or a movement [by Reuben].”

“There appears to have been no supervision of the dogs. Amy was in a deep sleep, Daniel was downstairs, outside, smoking.”

Dotty and the family’s second dog called Fizz, were both female and aged between seven and nine years of age. Both dogs were seized by police and euthanized after the heartbreaking incident, the inquest heard on Tuesday, Jan. 11. 

According to inquest reports, social workers had previously warned Reuben’s parents not to leave him unsupervised and alone with their two Staffies.

The inquest, not attended by either parent, heard that neither the child nor the dogs were being directly supervised at the time of the attack.

“Reuben was asleep in the same room and the dogs were asleep or lying quietly in their bed in the same room,” Coroner Milburn said.

“Dan said he went out for a cigarette and Amy recalled in her [police] interview that Dan told her but unfortunately she fell back asleep, and it was when Dan came back inside a short time later he found Reuben seriously injured and one of the dogs, Dottie, covered in Reuben’s blood.”

“I think the best way to characterize that series of events is that it was an unintentional short period of inadvertent inattention which sadly had horrific and tragic consequences,” Milburn said.

The mom and dad were arrested by police on suspicion of child neglect following the death, however, prosecutors decided not to charge them in Dec. 2020.

Detective Sergeant Emma Compson said police will take no further action against both parents and the couple had ‘separated as a result of the trauma’. 

Speaking after the inquest Tuesday, Reuben’s grandmother, Ruth Hinchey said that she is relieved at finding a conclusion to the family’s shocking ordeal.

“We’re just glad it’s finished and we can properly move on,” Ruth, Amy’s mother, said.

Reuben McNulty Reuben McNulty was just two weeks old when he was fatally attacked by their family dog. Facebook.

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