Community in shock after ‘friendly’ terrier kills three-week-old baby

Flowers outside a house in Falkland Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland, where a baby was mauled by a dog.
Flowers outside a house in Falkland Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland, where a baby was mauled by a dog.
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The Sunderland street where a three-week-old baby was savaged to death by a dog was today in shock and mourning.

Police were called to an address in Falkland Road, Ford Estate, at 4.15am today after the little boy was bitten. He died later in hospital.

The small terrier dog responsible was taken away and is likely to be destroyed.

A 30-year-old man - believed to be the boy’s father - has been arrested and is helping police with their inquiries.

The man was named locally as Ryan Young, his partner as Maria Blacklin, 29, and their tragic toddler as Reggie.

The couple have two other children, a boy and a girl, and Mr Young is believed to have another son from an earlier relationship.

Denise Haley, 59, who lives a couple of doors away, said: “It is just heartbreaking, no one can believe it.

“We didn’t hear a thing and came out this morning to see the police car there.

“Then when another neighbour told us, we were just thrown into shock. We are so devastated for them.”

Denise, who lives with her daughter, Rachel McLaren, 37, and six-week-old grandson TJ, said Maria was thrilled with the new addition to her family.

“She brought him down to meet us, it was lovely seeing the two babies together. She was so proud, like any new mother.”

Another neighbour, Brenda Tweddle, 49, said: “They were a really happy family. I shouted over, asking if they were having sleepless nights, and Maria said no, she couldn’t believe what a good baby he was.

“Our hearts just go out to them.”

Brenda said the family’s terrier seemed like a friendly little dog from what she had seen of it.

Her husband, Paul, 50, said: “As a parent you can only imagine the suffering of something like this happening. I fill up when I think of it.

“They are a loving family, with lots of family and friends visiting them.”

He said people living in the street will do whatever they can as a community to support the grieving family.