No criminal charges will be filed in the fatal dog attack on a 3-month-old Yadkin County girl last month, Yadkin County Sheriff Ricky Oliver said Wednesday.
Oliver said the investigation into the Nov. 9 attack ended last week. The baby, Dixie Jennings, was killed about 11:30 a.m. that day at Deep Creek Kennel in Yadkinville, which is owned by the infant’s grandmother, Robin Jennings.
Oliver said that Dixie’s mother, Sarah Jennings, who also works at the kennel, was in the office with her daughter when a customer came in with a dog. Sarah Jennings took the dog and its owner into the kennel area and put the dog into one of the cages, Oliver said.
A door separates the office from the kennel, and the door didn’t latch properly, Oliver said. A Rottweiler belonging to Robin Jennings pushed through the door. When Sarah and Robin Jennings came into the office, the Rottweiler was standing beside Dixie, who had been bitten, Oliver said.
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Sarah Jennings rushed her daughter to Hoots Memorial Hospital in Yadkinville, where the baby died. Robin Jennings took the Rottweiler to a local veterinarian, where the dog was euthanized, Oliver said. The dog’s body was later turned over to Yadkin County Animal Control for testing. Oliver said the dog had no history of aggressive behavior.
Oliver said that after the investigation was completed, Yadkin County prosecutors reviewed the findings. Oliver said the investigation found no evidence of negligence or criminal wrongdoing.
“It was accidental,” he said. “It was a horrible tragedy.”
Dixie died of head and brain injuries from the dog bites, said Dr. Donald Jason, the Forsyth County medical examiner. He said last month that Dixie had no other injuries on her body and was wearing a multicolored knit cap that the dog may have mistaken for a ball. Jason did the examination on behalf of Dr. James McGrath of Hoots Memorial Hospital, who is doing the final autopsy report.
Oliver had previously declined to release details about the attack. The Winston-Salem Journal had received numerous calls from Yadkin County residents who had heard rumors about the death and were concerned they were getting no information on the dog attack in their area.
Robin Jennings, a former president of the Yadkin County Humane Society and a former animal-cruelty investigator, has declined to comment, saying that this was a private family matter.