Support pours in for Rhode Island couple whose toddler daughter was killed by family dog, GoFundMe raises $20K
EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND: Support has poured in from all quarters for a couple whose 15-month-old daughter died after being attacked by the family dog. The incident reportedly happened last Thursday, July 16, when the toddler was at her grandparent's home. East Providence Police Chief William Nebus said: “The family had sat down for lunch outside. The baby was on the ground roaming freely and the dog, in the fenced in backyard, was also roaming freely. As far as we know, it was an unprovoked attack. There was no food on the ground both of them were going for, there was no hair pulling, no tail pulling, anything of that sort.”
According to reports, authorities arrived at the scene at around 2:45 pm Thursday for a "disturbance in progress." They later found out that the girl child was attacked by the family dog, which was a pitbull-type breed. A neighbor of the family identified as Tracy Couto said, “We were shocked. We wanted to know what was going on up the street. We saw people getting transported into an ambulance. We knew something horrific happened at that house."
The toddler suffered significant injuries after the dog attacked her, police said. She was soon rushed to Hasbro Children's Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Two adult members of the family also received treatment at the hospital after suffering injuries while trying to save the child from the attack. Reports said Animal Control was also called to the scene of the incident to euthanize the dog. Another neighbor Heidi Dorazio said, “We saw them going around the house with the pole to try and grab the dog, that took about a half-hour, 45 minutes. Then you saw them put the ladder on the roof, saw the officer walking across the roof quite a few times and then you heard the shots."
Couto added: “We heard the gunshots. I heard the dog howling when he went down. I just can't believe what I was hearing."
While Police Chief Nebus said that people should be “careful of all breeds when you're introducing children.” "There was no fault here to throw around, whether it was the parents or grandparents, maybe the dog didn't even know this was a child and didn't realize the extent of what it was doing. I'm not trying to make excuses for that, but, the message is, be careful with all dogs and children,” he added. Police also said that there were no earlier incidents involving the dog.
"I'm just shocked and I'm saddened by the loss of the family. I feel terribly for that family right now. I just wish I could go over and give them a hug,” Couto expressed her grief while Dorazio added: “It's devastating for the family, it's devastating for the neighborhood.”
The case is still under investigation by East Providence police and the city’s Animal Control.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been created for the devastated family by Caitlin Callahan DeAngelis, a relative of the family. The fundraising page has identified the deceased child as Scarlett, the daughter of Manny and Brianne Pereira. “My heart aches so hard for them right now. I cannot imagine the burden of losing my baby so tragically and then bearing the unexpected expenses that come along with such a loss. I ask you to dig deep today and give anything you can possibly give. No amount is too little or too much. I appreciate all of your help and support during this difficult time,” the message on the page read.
The campaign had raise $19,694 of its $20,000 target at the time of writing.