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Police officers at the scene on Falkland Road, Sunderland, where a three-week-old baby was bitten by a small terrier dog
A three-week-old baby boy has died after being bitten by a terrier inside a house.

Police were called at around 4.15am today after a report a baby had been bitten by a dog.

The boy was taken from Falkland Road, Sunderland, to hospital where he later died.

The semi-detached house where the incident happened is home to a young couple and their five children, according to locals.

Neighbours say the couple, named locally as Maria and Ryan, had the small brown terrier dog for around a year.

A police car is today parked outside the property.

Denise Haley, 59, who has lived on the street for 30 years, told the Newcastle Chronicle: "We are just thinking about Maria and we are really really shocked and upset.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before. It is a total shock. We keeping breaking down in tears."

Her daughter Rachel McLaran, 37, a friend of Maria and mum to a six-week old baby, was due to drop off baby clothes for Maria this week.

She said: "I Just feel really devastated for Maria. I can't imagine what she is going through. I've just had a baby myself so it is terrible. I fell sick about it."

Paul Tweddle, who lives over the road from the couple, said: "As a community we are very close knit.

"Any support I am sure they will have from their family but any support they need from the community - we will be there for them.

"I never saw the baby but I did speak to both Maria and Ryan and they were both so happy about having the baby.

"I've even said they must be having sleepless nights and Maria said he was sleeping really well."

Police said the dog has been removed from the address and is likely to be destroyed.

Superintendent Gillian Mitchell said: "This is obviously a very tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family of the baby at such a difficult time.

"We are carrying out enquiries to establish the circumstances of the incident and will have extra officers in the area to allow this to be done.

"Officers will also be on patrol to offer reassurance to the local community who may be concerned."

A 30-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and is helping police with their enquiries.