By Ana Belluscio
August 28, 2008
BUENOS AIRES -- A small street dog named “China” saved a newborn baby girl in a poor village in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The baby was delivered on the dawn of Thursday, August 21, by a 14-year-old girl in the back yard of a neighbor’s home. Emotionally stressed by the delivery, the girl abandoned the newborn baby naked in the yard.
After the young mother left, China dragged the baby girl inside her doghouse and placed her near her puppy to keep her warm. China’s actions were crucial to the baby’s survival since the southern hemisphere’s winter morning reached temperatures below 38 degrees with drizzling rain.
A few hours later, 27-year-old Favio Anze, owner of the house, heard the dog’s barking and a baby crying. He found the infant girl in the doghouse and called the police, wrapping her in a blanket trying to keep her warm.
When the police arrived, they took her immediately to the local hospital, Melchor Romero, 40 blocks away. As there was no way to know who the mother was, Anze went to the police station to make a statement about the baby’s whereabouts.
The story shook the country.
According to Anze’s declaration, when he found the baby she was dirt, mud-covered and with some light scratches and bruises that the police think are related with China pulling her inside the doghouse. The dog not only kept her warm but also licked her to remove blood and tissue’s remains from the delivery.
In the hospital, doctors reported that the baby was healthy and weighed about eight pounds as a nearly full-term baby of 39 weeks. They also stated that she had some blood in her mouth and that her umbilical cord was still attached, but had no signs of hypothermia or major lesions.
A few hours later the mother arrived at the hospital, driven by a neighbor. Even though she had no “medical controls” of general practitioner care during her pregnancy and gave birth alone just a few hours before, her general condition was fine. According to the hospital, she was emotionally stressed from the pregnancy and the delivery, and was unwilling to talk to doctors, police and the media.
According to María Elena Duarte, a journalist from a Radio Provincia, a local radio station in La Plata, that interviewed the young mother’s aunt, who wished to remain anonymous, the teenager gave birth alone in the back yard and left.
She also said that the young mother lives nearby: in that area there are only two houses, the one where China had her doghouse and found the baby and a second one just across the street.
Anze and his neighbors are unwilling to make declarations, since the mother is a minor and an investigation is likely regarding the circumstances of her pregnancy and the baby’s father.
The district attorney decided not to prosecute the 14-year-old mother. He stated that the teenager was also a victim of possibly statutory rape, and as she’s a minor she won’t be indicted.
She was placed under to custody of social services and will receive psychological assistance. Custody of the baby was granted to her 33-year-old grandmother, who also was a teenager single mother.