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Couple tried to call 911 twice after dog mauled newborn baby

Polo, the Staffordshire terrier who authorities said bit and killed a baby after being startled.

Polo, the Staffordshire terrier who authorities said bit and killed a baby after being startled.

(San Diego County Department of Animal Services)

A couple whose 3-day-old son was fatally mauled by their family dog made two unsuccessful 911 calls before giving up and rushing the baby to the hospital, police told KNSD-TV.

The family waited 28 seconds on the first call before hanging up and trying again. The second time, the two waited 34 seconds before hanging up and driving to the hospital. Police said 73 calls came in during the half-hour period when the parents called, according to the TV station.

On Thursday night, the couple had been watching TV in bed with the newborn, when the mother coughed and startled the dog, said Sgt. Tu Nguyen of the San Diego Police Department’s child abuse unit. The dog reacted by biting the baby.

“At this time it appears to be a tragic accident,” Nguyen said. “It’s such a horrific, tragic case.”

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Child abuse detectives were called to the Esplanade Apartments about 8 p.m. Thursday and county animal control officers arrived to remove the dog.

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The dog, a 2-year-old, neutered male American Staffordshire terrier-mix named Polo, will be held in 10-day quarantine to determine whether it has rabies. Afterward, it is up to the owners to decide whether they will reclaim the dog, said Dan DeSousa, deputy director of the county Department of Animal Services.

Follow me on Twitter @brittny_mejia

brittny.mejia@latimes.com

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