Police and state officials are still trying to piece together what happened when a 3-week-old Bourbonnais baby girl was killed by the family's pet Siberian husky.
The incident was first described as a mauling by Bourbonnais Police Chief Joe Beard. The family dog dragged Olivia Rozek, who was a twin born the day after Christmas, by her head from the bedroom through the hallway.
Olivia, who was first taken to Provena St. Mary's Hospital, Kankakee, and later airlifted to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, was pronounced dead at 11:55 p.m. Monday.
But Beard said Tuesday afternoon, he is not sure if mauling best describes what happened at the home in the 1600 block of Sunridge Drive. "I don't know what other word to use with this," Beard said.
Police received a 911 call at 5:45 p.m. that a girl had been mauled by the dog.
The mother told police that the twins were lying on the bed while she was in the kitchen preparing supper. She heard her baby cry and then saw the dog walking into the hallway with the baby in its mouth.
The Bourbonnais police are investigating along with Kankakee County Animal Control director Julie Boudreau's office, as well as the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Still, there may be no answers.
Boudreau speculated it was possible the dog thought the baby was an animal or a toy. It's also possible the baby was crying and the dog was attempting to take her to the mother, she said.
"We forget sometimes that they are animals. Animals do things differently than humans," she said. "These tragedies can sometimes happen."
Beard said he has not yet talked to the mother, who is distraught and unable to answer questions. He said he plans to interview the 32-year-old mother by Friday. Still, he already has a sense about the case, because while police have an option to consider neglect or child endangerment charges against a parent when a child is killed, Beard said, in this case it's not likely.
"Do we see it leading in that direction?" Beard asked. "The answer is no. I honestly don't see that. We're anxious to talk to her, but we want to allow her a proper grieving period."
The family got the 4-year-old male dog from a Chicago rescue organization in November 2007, Beard said.
The dog is in the custody of the Kankakee County Animal Control and will most certainly be destroyed, Boudreau said.
The family also has another husky, a female. The department will be looking into whether that dog will remain in the home.
Boudreau said the impounded dog appears friendly and healthy.
However, she said, people must remember that dogs are not people.
"Everyone needs to remember that as much as we love our animals, they are not people in fur coats," Boudreau said. "Their behavior is unpredictable."
In a 2007 national survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, the group estimated that while there were 74.8 million dogs in the United States, there were only 33 fatal dog maulings.
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