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Posted: 5/21/2003 5:52:41 AM EDT
[url]http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-687202,00.html[/url] Dog mauls baby to death as 'grandma' sleeps From Adam Sage in Holque and David Brown A BRITISH woman has been charged with manslaughter in France after her dog savaged a two-month-old baby to death. The dog attacked the child in his cot after Mary Barton fell asleep while babysitting. French police said that she had been drinking. When she awoke, André Bigg was lying dead on the floor, covered in bite marks. He was buried yesterday. André’s 25-year-old mother, Belinda, moved from Britain to France as a child and had lived with Mrs Barton and her husband in the village of Holque, near Dunkirk, since her parents returned home about ten years ago. The Dunkirk public prosecutor, Jean-Philippe Joubert, said the couple treated her as a daughter. “They regard André as their adopted grandson,” he said. “But last Friday the wife was looking after André when she had too much wine to drink at lunch. She has a background of drink problems and fell into an alcohol-induced stupor. Unfortunately, she was sleeping so deeply that she did not hear the dog. It leapt in the baby’s cradle and savagely mauled André. The wife did not even stir during the attack and only realised what had happened sometime later when she woke up.” Mrs Barton, 48, has now been placed under “formal investigation”, the equivalent of being charged under British law. Her lorry driver husband, Allan, who was in England at the time of the attack, said: “There is nothing we can do. I wish to Christ there was.” Mrs Barton had taken in the Belgian shepherd dog from a rescue centre in Saint-Omer four years ago. It has been placed in kennels and is expected to be destroyed. The police said that she had a second dog, Sam, which did not appear to have taken part in the attack. Belgian shepherds are strong, medium-sized dogs similar in appearance to long-haired German shepherds and are widely used as watchdogs. They are easy to train and are renowned for their loyalty to their owners, but this can make them suspicious around strangers and they become bored and aggressive if kept inside and not given sufficient exercise.
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 6:03:24 AM EDT
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