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Baby dies from injuries in dog attack

CONYERS -- A newborn infant died Tuesday after being bitten by the family pet last week.

According to a Rockdale County Sheriff's Office press release, the mother of the 5-day-old baby girl heard the infant crying Thursday and found the family dog on top of the baby's bassinet.

"As she approached the bassinet, she realized that the dog had bitten her daughter," read the release.

The infant was taken to Rockdale Medical Center and later airlifted to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for surgery. Doctors performed the surgery, but the infant was listed in critical condition and died Tuesday from the injuries.

No charges are expected to be filed, according the release.

RCSO spokeswoman Sgt. Jodi Shupe said the dog was a pit bull breed and has been in custody of Animal Control since the incident.

Danny Lowery, owner of Conyers K-9 Academy, said dogs need training before being introduced to new additions in the family.

"Any dog can be good with kids if you socialize it and train it the right way," Lowery said. "He needs mental and physical stimulation every day, and you can't set him aside when a baby comes or you're going to have issues."

Lowery has been working with dogs for more than 30 years and deals with specific behavior issues.

"You got to work at it. You got to let the dog know he can't develop jealousy issues over the baby," Lowery said, explaining specific, necessary steps to go through in the training and acclimation process.

"Training is so important ... because the dog is going to be curious," Lowery added. "It all goes back to socialization. You can do a lot even before the baby gets here."

Lowery suggested getting the dog used to characteristic sounds and smells of babies.

Though all dogs are different, Lowery mentioned there are typically warning signs that a dog is not adjusting to children in the family. However, many may not know exactly what to look for.

"A dog will tell you before it bites," Lowery said.

And Lowery said he does not work with dogs who have already caused puncture wounds and often suggests the dog be taken out of the home.

"Kids are more important than a dog," Lowery said.