A pet dog who mauled a newborn to death in the United Kingdom may have thought the baby was "a small prey or squeaky toy," an inquest heard Tuesday.

The baby, identified as Reuben McNulty, was two weeks old when he was viciously attacked by the canine at his residence in Yaxley on Nov. 18, 2018. The baby succumbed to injuries three weeks later, BBC reported.

An inquest heard that the baby’s mother was sleeping when the dog attacked him. His father, who had stepped out for a smoke, got back home to discover the scene. He immediately called the cops and said that his baby was attacked by one of his pet dogs. He told the authorities that "on picking [Reuben] up he saw the injuries, and saw the dog Dotty licking its lips."

Reuben was rushed to a local hospital where he died. The dogs were seized and put down after the attack.

Simon Newbury, a veterinary forensics expert, told the inquest Tuesday that there were over 20 puncture wounds on the baby’s body, ITV reported.

"It's possible that Dottie saw Reuben as a small prey or a squeaky toy. It's possible that Dottie was stimulated into a predatory drive by crying or a movement [by Reuben]. There appears to have been no supervision of the dogs. Amy was in a deep sleep, Daniel was downstairs smoking," he said.

The inquest also heard that a child protection plan was issued by social services before the baby’s birth stating that he should not be left alone with the canines.

"The child protection plan gives clear indication and evidence that the parents were aware Reuben should not be left alone with the dogs at any time, nor when the family were eating. Neither Reuben nor the dogs were being directly supervised during the time of the attack," coroner Simon Milburn said.

He concluded the inquest by describing the incident as an "unintentional short period of inattention which sadly had horrific and tragic consequences."

Representation. A baby. Pixabay