HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A 3-year-old child died after her family's pit bull attacked her. A family spokesperson says Braelynn Rayne Coulter was playing when the dog suddenly attacked. Coulter's mother tried to save her, but the dog also attacked her.
High Point police went to their home Monday evening. When they arrived, a family member had already taken the child to High Point Regional Hospital. Police say Braelynn died at the hospital.
The pit bull terrier is now at the Guilford County Animal Shelter. He will likely be euthanized within the next few weeks, after police complete their investigation.
Guilford County Animal Shelter Director Marsha Williams said, "We don't know what his temperament is. He has shown some signs of aggression. But, that's also typical of animals that come into the shelter and they're in a strange environment with a lot noise and a lot of new people...He has not necessarily wanted us to move toward him or touch him. But, that could be because he's in pain. It could be because we're strangers and he did just go through a traumatic situation."
Williams added, "I don't think they're (pit bulls) more aggressive. I believe they are loving dogs. They're family dogs…if you socialize them a lot, and I mean a lot. You need to keep them around people at all times. Take them in different environments. Exercise them and give them lots of exercise because they are high energy dogs."
According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, pit bull type dogs killed 118 people between 1979-1998. Rottweilers killed 67 people during that same time period. German Shepherd dogs killed 41 people between those years.
A family spokesperson said the dog has never been aggressive before and was a loving family pet.
Family members released the following statement:
"Braelynn Rayne Coulter was a beautiful, lively three year old young lady. She was full of life. She was the light of her mama and gaga's life and the loss leaves a hole in our hearts. She was smart and vivacious and absolutely loved Dora the Explorer. She enjoyed her time in nature and going to a park was the highlight of her day. She will be missed dearly! Heaven is a little prettier today with Braelynn there!"
Friends have launched a website to help raise money to help the family pay for funeral expenses. You can also stop by any Truliant bank and donate to the Braelynn Coulter account in person.
Mandy Shepard, a close family friend shared with WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford a little glimpse of this family's unthinkable pain.
"Randi adored Braelynn and she is so incredibly heartbroken," said Shepard.
The day before Braelynn died, her mom captured moments of Braelynn at one of her favorite places, the park.
Shepard said, "She was so happy. She was crawling around like a little monkey on the monkey bars."
Shepard talked about how heartbroken Braelynn's mom, Randi is since the attack.
"She said my heart is not beating anymore. She said that um she can't imagine how she can go on and that she literally feels like she has no breath left in her body."