CLASHMORE, IRELAND: An inquest has been told about an unfortunate incident where a toddler lost her life in a dog attack. The incident reportedly happened in June 2021 at the child’s family home in Clashmore, Co Waterford. Mia O’Connell was sleeping when the rescued dog, a dachshund-terrier cross breed, apparently attacked her and left her with multiple fractures in the skull.
The little one was reportedly found in severe condition by her aunt Emily Woods, who along with her six-year-old son was at her younger sister Ella’s house at the time. The Sun reported that Ella put the three-month-old to sleep in her Moses basket before going downstairs to spend time with Emily and grandmother Noreen. The mother was confident that her child was safe and since the house was not very big, she thought she could easily hear if Mia got up or cried.
But the unthinkable happened when the infant’s aunt went to the room to see if her son was okay. Recalling the horrendous moment, Ella told the inquest in a statement, “She screamed my name. I had never heard her scream like that. I ran up the stairs and when I got to the landing I saw Emily holding Mia. She screamed ‘it was the dog, it was the dog’. I looked and saw the dog on the landing and his face was covered in blood. It was disgusting.”
The devastated mother also stated that she was not in favor of keeping the dog at home after it was saved by the victim’s grandfather, Barry Dillon, in 2021. She reportedly added, “I did not know what kind of breed it was. It was small, ugly, and brown or red in color. Barry called it Red. I did not like this dog from the beginning, there was something about it. It seemed very anxious and shaking. It lived outside and was not allowed into the house. I felt uncomfortable with that dog and a baby in the house.”
Giving details of the incident, Emily also reportedly shared, “Mia was in the middle of the room and the dog Red was behind her. He was just standing over her. There was blood all over his mouth. Mia was lying on her back. I grabbed a muslin cloth from the bed and put it to her head to try and stop the bleeding.”
Reports said the deceased child was premature, weighing just 4lbs 9ozs when delivered. She had to be in the hospital for two weeks before coming home. However, once Mia arrived, the dog apparently became jealous. Grandmother Noreen O’Connell said that the animal behaved aggressively with the child once. Noreen added, “I hated that dog.”
After the fatal attack, Mia was reportedly rushed to Cork University Hospital but couldn’t be saved. As per an autopsy conducted by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster, the tot’s cause of death was “severe brain trauma due to fractures of the skull, and multiple lacerations to the head consistent with a dog attack,” The Sun reported.
Meanwhile, Cork City Coroner Philip Comyn stated, “This is a particularly tragic death involving a family pet. At the end of the day, dogs are animals and can be unpredictable especially when their place in a family is displaced, as in this case by Baby Mia.”
Mia’s maternal aunt Heidi O’Connell told RTE News, “It is still like a nightmare. Three months old, full of smiles, full of giggles, she was just taken away from us so abruptly, so tragically. We just don’t know what to do.”