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Sheriff unsure if mauling will draw charges
21-month-old Ellabell child killed
Sheriff Smith
Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith talks to the press Thursday about the fatal dog mauling Wednesday evening of 21-month-old Monica Renee Laminack. - photo by Photo by Crissie Elrick

A North Bryan County toddler died Wednesday after being mauled outside her home by a pack family dogs while family members were inside.

According to Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith, family members awoke from a nap around 6:30 p.m. to find 21-month-old Monica Renee Laminack being attacked by seven dogs in the yard of their home at 595 Elm Drive.

“Apparently what happened is the child and the dogs were all in the house together and exited the house through the doggie door,” Smith said during a press conference Thursday in Pembroke. “The dogs apparently live in the house also … and they all went outside and at some point they started attacking the child, mauled her and drug her all over the yard. They tore her clothes off and scattered her clothes all over a pretty large back yard.”

Smith said the child’s mother, Summer Laminack, 18, grandmother, Michelle McIntyre, great-grandmother, Pat Asher, and two uncles, ages 14 and 12, were at home at the time.

“They said they arrived back from a store shortly after 5 p.m. and indicated they had all went to sleep or something, and we got the call at 6:36 p.m.,” he said.

Smith said the grandmother called 911 after she heard the dogs barking.

“The grandmother to the child heard the dogs barking and making noise outside and said she got up, looked out the window and saw the dogs mauling the baby and yelled, ‘They’re killing Monica,’” he said.

“The family rushed down the stairs and went out to the yard and pulled the dogs off and the child’s mother ... picked the child up and stated that she knew the child was dead at that time.”

When authorities arrived, Smith said EMS personnel immediately requested a coroner, and the child was pronounced dead on the scene.

No charges have been filed. The investigation is ongoing. Results from an autopsy Thursday were pending.

Smith said charges of child neglect would be the minimum that could be filed. No charges are likely to be filed before the child’s funeral, he said.

Smith said deputies and EMTs who responded were “very disturbed.”

“They said it was the worst they have seen,” he said. “It was bad, very bad.”

The sheriff said nine dogs live in the home. Seven were pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Two others, a setter and a beagle, were not involved in the mauling.

“All seven dogs (involved) were put down by Bryan County Animal Control at that time,” he said. “They euthanized them at the scene, and I’m sure there will some repercussions of that. But I take full responsibility for that myself.”

According to statements from the family, Smith said they never believed the child was in danger.

“From statements of the family, the dogs had access to the house and lived inside the house and outside in the yard, and the child supposedly played with the dogs quite a bit,” he said, noting the family indicated she had even played with them prior to the attack.

He said Bryan County Animal Control and the sheriff’s department had never responded to an animal complaint at that location before.

Smith added he assumed any breed of dog — not just pit bulls — could have done this.

“I’m no authority on dogs, but when they start, they will attack,” he said

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