No charges will be filed in fatal pit bull attack in North Las Vegas


Prosecutors have decided not to press charges in the case of the 4-month-old girl who was mauled to death by her family's two pit bulls last month.

Clark County District Attorney David Roger said his office couldn't find that the family members of the child had intentionally placed her in harm's way.

The dogs had never been deemed vicious.

"No authority had ever declared these animals vicious," Roger said. "There were no significant prior actions of the dogs that would suggest that these dogs would be dangerous to human beings."

The decision by the district attorney brings to a close one of the most vicious animal attacks in the valley in recent memory.

Authorities with the North Las Vegas Police Department and North Las Vegas Fire Department said the Sept. 12 attack was so horrific that counseling would be offered to the employees who responded to the scene.

Cenedi Kia Carey was lying in a stroller in her family's North Las Vegas home, near Cheyenne Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard, when the dogs managed to gain entry into the house from the backyard, possibly by bursting through a screen door, according to police.

They went straight for the girl. Her grandmother, who was watching her, scooped her up and tried to escape into a room of the house.

She tried to close the door behind her, but one of the dogs forced its way into the room and the second one followed, police said.

They began attacking the girl again, and the grandmother called police at 11:25 a.m. Officers arrived to find the dogs blood-stained and "acting very aggressively" toward them. They shot and killed the dogs.

Officers found the baby on the floor of a bedroom, dead from her injuries.

About a week after the attack, North Las Vegas police submitted a report to the district attorney's office, but Roger said the report didn't recommend charges.

Prosecutors assumed police wanted them to look at a potential abuse and neglect charge, Roger said.

But the statute, which is also used when prosecuting people who leave children in automobiles during the summer, requires that prosecutors show intent to place the child in harm's way, Roger said.

"We didn't believe the caregivers intentionally placed the child in harm's way," he said.

He said he didn't believe his office could prove any charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

North Las Vegas police have not released the report.

Donna Coleman, a local child welfare advocate, said she didn't disagree with the decision of the district attorney's office, which should be going after people who knowingly place their children in harm's way.

On Tuesday, the single-story home where the girl and her parents lived appeared empty, and a "For Rent" sign was in the window.

After the attack, a few of the neighbors of the girl and others in the community denounced the attack and the parents who kept the dogs with a young child in the house.

Lisa Kirk, president of Bully Buddies, a local pit bull rescue organization, received hate mail after the attack from people claiming, among other things, that pit bulls were vicious.

"I got all kinds of hate mail," she said. "It was nasty."

She said she didn't know about the circumstances surrounding the attack in North Las Vegas but wondered whether the dogs were properly introduced to the baby.

"I don't know if these dogs were abused," she said. "My only concern was they were left out, and a lot of times people don't take the time to properly introduce a child to their dogs."

Kirk said pit bulls are not inherently vicious and were never bred to be human-aggressive.

But when child is introduced into a home with dogs, the parents should first introduce the dog to the baby's scent to make the dogs know that the child is a member of the family.

Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at lmower@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0440.

 

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