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Family Pit Bull Fatally Mauls 16-Month-Old Girl

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File photo of a pit bull. (credit: JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a pit bull. (credit: JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — Authorities say a baby girl has been fatally mauled by her family’s dog in Las Cruces.

Las Cruces police say the child’s grandmother appears to have been accidentally shot by a neighbor who was trying to stop the animal attack Tuesday afternoon.

The 16-month-old girl suffered multiple injuries to her head and chest and was rushed to a Las Cruces hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her name hasn’t been released.

The girl’s 52-year-old paternal grandmother received a gunshot wound to her leg and was transported to an El Paso hospital.

Police say the family’s 2-year-old pit bull attacked the young girl in the backyard of her grandparent’s residence. The girl’s grandmother tried to intervene but was attacked by the dog.

Dr. Beth Vesco-Mock, director of the Animal Services Center in Mesilla Valley, said it appeared the girl was originally left alone in the yard with the dog.

“It’s not a dog issue. It’s not a pit bull issue. It’s a responsibility issue,” Dr. Vesco-Mock told the Alamogordo Daily News. “When you get these dogs, you must train them and supervise them, especially when they’re around children, at all times.”

The neighbor later shot and killed the dog.

“It sounded like birds fighting, and then I heard these loud noises. It sounded like something falling against concrete,” neighbor Chris Wollard told the Daily News.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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