PUBLISHED: 08:10 EST, 20 June 2012 | UPDATED: 14:18 EST, 20 June 2012
The grieving mother of an eight-month-old boy mauled to death by a family dog has released a photo of the infant sitting beside the animal just before what she called became a ‘tragic accident.’
Sitting up, smiling, with a hand extended toward the sleeping dog’s face, a newly released photo of baby Tyzhel McWilliams paints a far different picture of the family dog named Zulu, at least through the baby’s mother’s eyes.
‘Never in my life I thought that would happen,’ Tyzhel’s mother of San Diego, California who wished to be unnamed told UT San Diego.
Together: Eight-month-old Tyzhel McWilliams is pictured with the sleeping dog named Zulu who would later tragically end the infant’s life
Protective, friendly, the words she used to describe the brown and white pit pull euthanized Tuesday after one fatal bite to the child’s head ended his life last Thursday while the boy crawled across the floor.
‘It just happened so quickly,’ she said of the incident that took place just before 5pm while the single mom talked in a separate room with her roommate – the owner of not only Zulu, but two other male pit bulls in the home.
All of the dogs were immediately removed from the home.
With the other two confirmed as not being involved in the child’s death, nor having a known history of violence, they were later returned to their owner.
An NBC video shows handlers struggling to restrain one of the dogs last week as it aggressively tried to free itself from a catch pole during its removal.
Aggression: One of the three pit bulls found in the home is seen struggling to free itself from a catch pole last Thursday evening after the attack
During their time the dogs had killed two cats that had on separate incidents entered their fenced backyard, both the mother and roommate told UT San Diego.
Aside from this the women said they had shown no extended aggression.
‘…I really had no reason to think to treat the dog and baby differently’
– Mother of baby killed
‘They loved him from the beginning,’ the mother defended of the dogs’ relationship with her baby.
Still, she says, she has learned from her mistake.
‘I guess not have dogs around the baby,’ she answered when asked what she’d have done differently. ‘But I really had no reason to think to treat the dog and baby differently,’ she said.
Responding to calls from the mother’s home in Lemon Grove last week,police arrived at the property to find the mother clutching her injured child.
He was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital where he died a short while after.
Scene: Lemon Grove, San Diego, where the baby was killed
No arrests have since been made but police said they have questioned four people in connection with the incident.
Neighbours reacted with shock to news of the tragedy, adding that the dogs were not known to have been violent in the past.
Regina Marlow, who lives close to the family, told the news channel: ‘I can’t even imagine losing a child and to know that a family pet did it.’
‘That’s horrific. I can’t even imagine what the family would be going through.’
Tyzhel McWilliams was the youngest dog attack victim known to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Lt. Larry Nesbit said.