CLEARWATER, Fla. — Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 7-month-old who was killed by a dog while at a foster home in Clearwater over the weekend.
Investigators say baby Khloe Williams died after being attacked by her extended foster family’s dog, Lynnie.
Lynnie is less than two years old, but on Friday night Clearwater police say she attacked and killed Williams.
“We evaluate all animals that go through our adoption program for aggression toward food, for toys and treats, with people and with other animals and she did not show any signs of aggression through any of those assessments,” Pinellas County Animal Services Director Doug Brightwell said about Lynnie.
After Lynnie passed every test, Pinellas County Animal Services adopted her out to Khloe’s extended foster family seven months ago. Khloe’s foster dad, a Clearwater police detective, is not Lynnie’s owner and wasn’t at home when the incident occurred.
Her biological mother released this statement saying in part, “There were multiple agencies that were tasked with the care of the child, including the Florida Department of Children and Families.”
It goes on to read “Khloe’s tragic death could have and should have been avoided, and was the direct result of inexcusable neglect.”
Brightwell said Lynnie is being kept by Animal Services until the organization hears from the family. If the family chooses to relinquish ownership, Pinellas County Animal Services will move forward with euthanizing the animal.
The Clearwater Police Department released the following statement on the death investigation:
"The Clearwater Police Department's homicide unit is conducting a thorough and objective investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of 7-month-old Khloe Williams. The detectives are collecting evidence and conducting interviews to determine exactly how this horrible dog attack occurred," said Deputy Chief Eric Gandy. "This is a heartbreaking situation for everyone involved. We are committed to conducting a fair and impartial investigation. In order to ensure the integrity of the investigation we will not be releasing details or discussing the circumstances with anyone outside the investigation until it is complete."
The Department of Children and Families released the following statement:
The Department of Children and Families is committed to ensuring the safety of all children, especially those in the care of foster parents. Any time a child dies in foster care, the department will conduct a thorough review to ensure the highest quality of care for children in the child welfare system.
Understanding of the high levels of trust and responsibility placed upon them, we are forever grateful to the thousands of wonderful families across Florida who support vulnerable children and make the choice to bring a child into their homes and their hearts.
DCF will support the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office as they investigate this child’s death and the department has also initiated a multidisciplinary review team to review this child’s history with the child welfare system.