‘Words cannot console what they are going through’ – community remains in shock after baby killed by family dog

The scene outside the home in Falkland Road, Ford Estate, in which three-week-old Reggie Young was bitten by a dog.
The scene outside the home in Falkland Road, Ford Estate, in which three-week-old Reggie Young was bitten by a dog.
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Neighbours in Falkland Road are today struggling to come to terms with the tragedy which unfolded in their midst in the early hours of Saturday.

The fence outside the Ford Estate home in which three-week-old Reggie Young was fatally injured was lined with floral tributes, cards and toys yesterday, while a police car remained outside.

Paul Tweddle of Falkland Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland

Paul Tweddle of Falkland Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland

Denise Haley, 59, has lived in her home just a couple of doors away for 30 
years.

Reggie Young’s parents had moved in ‘a couple of years ago,’ she 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,” she said.

It is just heartbreaking, no-one can believe it.

Denise Haley

“Then, when another neighbour told us, we were just thrown into shock.

“We are so devastated for them.”

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

“She brought him down to meet us, “ she said.

“It was lovely seeing the two babies together – she was so proud, like any new mother.”

Brenda Tweddle, 49, who lives opposite the Young family home, said Reggie’s parents had been delighted with their latest addition .

“They were such a really happy family,” she 
said.

“I shouted over, asking if they were having sleepless nights, and she 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 a friendly little dog from what she had seen of it.

Husband Paul,50, said a tragedy such as the one that had unfolded on Saturday put trivial concerns into perspective.

“As a parent you can only imagine the suffering of something like this happening,” he said. “I fill up when I think of it. They are a loving family, with lots of family and friends visiting them.”

He said neighbours and the local community would do whatever they could to support the 
family.

“Words won’t console them with what they’re going through. Their baby’s only three weeks old,” said Mr Tweddle.

“They were such a proud mam and dad. They’ve got a few children between them – very family orientated.

“They’re a run-of-the-mill, nice family.”

“It’s just horrible. It is a big shock. Everybody sort of knows everybody. I’m a dad myself. You just can’t imagine. It’s really, really horrible.

“It’s terrible, it’s horrible, what do you say?”

A relative said the boy’s mother had returned from a family event in the early hours to find the terrible scene.

He stressed that although the baby’s mother was out, the youngster had not been left alone.

The man, who did not want to be named, said the dog – said to be a small terrier-type animal – was usually kept in an outhouse, and was never left alone with the children.

He described it as a good natured animal.

The family was devastated and wanted to know how the attack could have happened, he said.