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Missouri parents are under investigation after news that a ferret ate seven of their infant son's fingers. The baby boy is 4-months-old and is in critical condition after the incident. This was reportedly the third time the ferret attack the baby.
Police are looking into the parent's action (or lack of action) for possible neglect and failure to obtain a license for an exotic pet, CNN reports.
The baby's mother was awakened at 2:30 a.m. to hear her baby crying. When she discovered the ferret eating the baby's fingers, she woke her husband with screams.
The father then killed the pet by throwing it across the room, police chief Aaron Ambrose told CNN. Authorities are not releasing the names of the parents of the infant, who now has only two thumbs and half a pinkie.
"We're trying to figure out if this thing had a crate or a cage, or was it running around the house," Ambrose said. "It jumped into the rocker thing that the baby was sleeping in and ate seven of its fingers."
"I look back and it was obvious this devastation could have been avoided," said Angela Simpkins, a ferret advocate, who says that the ferret had bitten the child twice previously. "The owners of the ferret needed to find a new home for the ferret because it bit the baby twice and they knew they needed to place it. I immediately said I would take it."
Severe neglect can result in a loss of parental rights. If the state determines that a child is living in a dangerous situation, it can seek to remove a child from the home. In such a case, the primary consideration is what is in the best interest of the child.
The baby is currently being treated at the Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Ambrose said the tragic incident can be used to educate parents about animals in the home. "If you have a baby or children, if you have animals, I would assume you want to educate yourself...are they good around kids? Hopefully, people will take a general look at this and see what's the lesson," Ambrose said.