Catania, February 16 - A mother got a suspended sentence of 18 months in jail Thursday after one of the family's two dogs savaged her 18-month-old son to death at Mascaluscia near Catania in Sicily last summer. The two Dogo Argentino dogs (Argentinian Mastiffs) will not be put down, the judge decided, but instead sent to an animal centre for "re-education". The incident happened in August 2016, when one of the mastiffs went for the toddler despite the mother's standing beside him. The mother, 34, was cleared of the charge of "abandoning a minor". The woman told prosecutors, according to her lawyer: "I had the baby in my arms when one of the dogs, the only one free in the garden, suddenly, without any apparent reason, attacked the little one, trying to pull him away from me. "I defended him, I fought, but it dragged me into the garden. Then I managed to shut away the dog and I ran out of the house screaming, asking for help with my son in my arms, but it was all no use". The mother was slightly injured but did not require hospital treatment. The toddler was 'coptered to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. The dogs were impounded by local authorities. "Today is a tragic day for Mascalucia," Deputy Mayor Fabio Cantarella said on Facebook. The Dogo Argentino is a large, white, muscular dog that was developed in Argentina primarily for the purpose of big-game hunting, including wild boar. Its breeders also wanted a dog that would exhibit steadfast bravery and willingly protect its human companion to the death. It was first bred in 1928, from the Cordoba Fighting Dog along with a wide array of other breeds including the Great Dane.
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