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Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Sunday, 8 February 2009

Heartbreak at baby killed by dogs

Jaden Mack
Jaden Mack, aged three-and-a-half-months, was declared dead in hospital

Neighbours have spoken of their "devastation" and "heartbreak" at the death of a baby boy who was attacked by family dogs at his grandmother's home.

Prayers have been said at churches in the south Wales valleys village of Ystrad Mynach for three-and-a-half-month-old Jaden Mack.

Initial tests show Jaden was killed by a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell, which have now been destroyed.

One villager said the dogs were playful and "never seemed to be vicious".

Gwent Police are investigating the death of Jaden, who died after being taken to hospital early on Saturday.

Father Steven Kirk
It's only a small town and people are devastated that such a tragic thing has happened
Father Steven Kirk

Jaden was being looked after by his grandmother on the night of the attack, which happened downstairs in the house in Caerphilly county.

Jaden's parents were out at the time, and his grandmother was taken to hospital to be treated for shock.

Father Steven Kirk, vicar of Ystrad Mynach said: "This morning in church we have prayed for the family because people's hearts have gone out to them.

"They feel devastated by what's happened and of course we've prayed for the soul of baby Jaden as well.

"We hope that the family are aware how much the community is supporting them in this tragic time.

"It's only a small town and people are devastated that such a tragic thing has happened within this small community.

"I think everyone has been affected by it. Everyone this morning in church this morning has been very concerned and it's been in the forefront of people's minds and of their prayers."

Neighbour Robert Jones
Everyone's heartbroken in the street
Robert Jones, neighbour

Neighbour Robert Jones, who had gone into the house after hearing screaming, said: "We are all shocked about it." He added: "Everyone's heartbroken in the street".

He said the dogs were "very playful and never seemed to be vicious".

Mr Jones said he was "devastated" for a "lovely family" and a "lovely woman" he described as "brilliant" and as someone who "always had the time of day to talk to you".

He said that before the tragedy the dogs would be seen in the window of her house or the yard, and people would stroke them and play with them.

He said the baby's parents, who live about half a mile away, were regular visitors, and Jaden had stayed at his grandmother's home previously without problems.

Flowers and a toy outside the house where Jaden was attacked
Flowers and a toy have been left outside the house in Ystrad Mynach

In a statement, police said the two dogs "were removed from the property immediately after the incident and they have now been humanely destroyed".

Police said they were continuing to investigate on behalf of the coroner. No arrests have been made.

Officers have completed a forensic examination of the house and are speaking to a number of witnesses.

Police family liaison officers remain with the relatives, who, the force said, "wish to be left alone to grieve".

Flowers and a toy have been placed outside the house, and tributes to Jaden have appeared on the Gone Too Soon memorial website.

Police have reiterated their warning that dogs should never be left unsupervised with young children.

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