The dog that killed 1-year-old A'Myrikal Jolynn Hull has been euthanized.
The female pocket bully — American Pit Bull Terrier and Patterdale Terrier mix — was put down on March 30, following the March 18 attack inside the family's home on the 800 block of Indiana Avenue in Springfield.
A'Myrikal was near the dog's food bowl while the pocket bully was eating and reached for its food, according to longtime family friend Cory Painter, who said the dog responded by biting her on the head.
The toddler died at HSHS St. John's Hospital that night, shortly after being rushed to the emergency room by ambulance.
Sangamon County Animal Control removed the dog — which had been with the family for about four years — from the home immediately after the attack, putting it under rabies observation for 10 days prior to an examination by a local veterinarian, who confirmed the dog did not have rabies.
"Our department had asked for police to find out from the family what their wishes were with respect to that animal," said Bill Dart, assistant director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health. "Once the determination for rabies was included, their wishes were that the animal be euthanized."
The attack occurred inside the home of Bobbie Jo Stengel, who was A'Myrikal's grandmother and guardian, and the owner of the dog.
Since the family requested the dog be euthanized, there was no investigation into whether the female pocket bully was a "vicious dog," which is defined by the Animal Control Act as a dog that "without justification, attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death."
However, Dart warns that food aggression can alter a dog's typical behavior.
"People need to be aware that when animals are feeding, they're in a different state of mind — especially, breeds that are known to be a little more aggressive," Dart explained. "But that could be any breed. Animals mindsets are rooted in instincts. We like to give them human characteristics, but they're not (human). They don't think that way. When we get so involved with them and we love them and we see them around all the time, we start thinking they're just kind of like kids or like us. But, ultimately, they're animals and they're instinctual.
"This is just a horrible tragedy."
On March 31, a funeral was held for A'Myrikal who was born March 7, 2020. Her death remains under investigation by the Sangamon County Coroner's Office.