District Attorney To Review Case Of Pit Bull Attacking, Killing 2-Year-Old Girl

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

An autopsy was performed Monday on 2-year-old Taylynn DeVaughn, described by her father as a happy, playful baby girl. Taylynn was killed the day before by a Pit Bull, named Jake, where she was visiting in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The medical examiner ruled the toddler's death as accidental from injuries to the head and neck caused by a dog, according to ABC News.

Allegheny County police and the medical examiner's office agree that the dog fatally attacked the child inside a home in the 3900 block of Fleetwood Street at around 8:45 p.m. Sunday. Her father called 911 and Taylynn was rushed by ambulance to the Jefferson Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:37 p.m.

According to the police, the child lived in nearby Forest Hills and was at the home with her father, Cory DeVaughn. DeVaughn told WPXI News that he and his daughter were visiting his sister and he was cooking dinner when the attack occurred. He said he heard family members screaming that his baby had been attacked by the dog.

It was the second time his daughter had been around the Pit Bull and everything had been fine up to the point where the dog suddenly attacked her, the distraught father said.

“My baby is gone,” he told the Tribune-Review by phone.

“We know deep down inside, she's looking down on us,” DeVaughn told WPXI. “She has a lot of people that love her a lot. People all over love my baby.”

He said he doesn't blame anyone and that everyone is hurting right now.

West Mifflin animal control officer Ken Ferree was called to the home Sunday night to secure the male Pit Bull-mix, which weighed about 80 pounds and is 3 to 4 years old.

“It's a good-size, powerful dog,” he said. He used a catch-pole to handle the dog, which fought him when he captured it and again at the kennel.

Officer Ferree described it as not a cooperative dog.

Neighbor Casey Tomlinson told WPXI that he never saw the dog outside, only in the home's window

Ferree said he had never been called to the home before. He will keep the dog for a standard 10-day quarantine period and discuss the next step with local and county officials and the dog's owners. 

Cory DeVaughn told WXPI that he would like to see the dog put down.

County Lt. Andrew Schurman said a district attorney will review the case and determine whether charges are warranted.

The Tribune reminded readers that In 2012, 2-day-old Howard Nicholson Jr. was mauled by a 19-month-old husky in McKeesport when the infant's mother briefly left him in a car carrier on the floor.

In that case, the infant's mother, Brandy Furlong, pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of children and dog attack causing death. She was sentenced to six months of house arrest and up to five years of probation.

Mike Manko, spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney, said it is too early for his office to comment on the DeVaughn incident.

Sources: ABC, WXPI, Trib Live / Photo Credit: WXPI, WikiCommons