Anchorage Baby Dies In Unprovoked Attack By Family's Pit Bull

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A 9-month-old boy was mauled to death by the family's pit bull as his mother picked him up and the dog suddenly clamped its jaws on the back of the child's head.

The boy's mother, Chris Coffman, also was injured by the pet yesterday afternoon after it ran away and then returned to attack again. Police say the 60-pound pit bull bit her on the neck and the face before it was confined to a bathroom.

The child, whose name was not released, died in an Anchorage hospital about an hour after the attack.

Brian Coffman arrived home shortly after the incident and helped animal-control officers seize the 7-year-old brindle pit bull, named Bruiser. Coffman said he wanted the dog destroyed immediately.

"I'm going to take my dog and put him to sleep," he yelled to police. "He's not going to be quarantined. He's just going to die."

After talking with police, Coffman put the dog in an animal-control van.

The dog will be quarantined for 10 days to determine if it is rabid. After that, it will become evidence for a police investigation, animal-control officials said.

"We're going to destroy the dog," Anchorage Police Lt. Shirley Warner said. "That's the only choice. He destroyed a baby's life."

Investigators said the dog's attack was not provoked. The child was standing in the living room when his mother picked him up and the animal snapped.

Mike Cairy, kennel manager for animal control, said there have been at least two pit-bull attacks in Anchorage so far this year. But the dog as a breed isn't more vicious than any other, he said. There are more reports of husky attacks than pit-bull attacks, Cairy said.