A five-month-old baby and a two-year-old child have been killed by family pet pit bulls at a home outside Memphis, Tennessee.
The children were pronounced dead at the scene following an attack on Wednesday in Shelby County at around 3.30pm.
The mother was also injured in the attack and was taken to hospital in critical condition, according to local news station WMC.
On Wednesday night, the Shelby County Sheriff tweeted that "detectives are on scene at the 700 block of Sylvan Road near Shelby Forest State Park, where at about 3:30 pm two family dogs attacked a 2-year-old girl, a 5-month-old boy, and their mother in the home. The children were pronounced deceased on the scene."
A video from the scene shared by the Sheriff's Office shows an extensive response from the emergency services.
"Shelby County Fire paramedics transported the mother in critical condition to Regional One Health. This remains an active investigation," the office added.
SCSO detectives later confirmed that the mother is now in a stable condition and the two pit bulls responsible for the attack were euthanized this afternoon by Memphis Animal Services.
Pitbulls May Have Been Bred for Fighting
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states on its website that "some pit bulls were selected and bred for their fighting ability. That means that they may be more likely than other breeds to fight with dogs" but that "it doesn't mean that they can't be around other dogs or that they're unpredictably aggressive."
The organisation went on to note that "other pit bulls were specifically bred for work and companionship. These dogs have long been popular family pets, noted for their gentleness, affection and loyalty. And even those pit bulls bred to fight other animals were not prone to aggressiveness toward people. Dogs used for fighting needed to be routinely handled by people; therefore aggression toward people was not tolerated".