Neighbours have spoken of the horrific screams coming from the mother of the four-year-old child , named locally as Alice Stones.
The child was fatally attacked in the back garden of her home by the family pet at 5pm on Tuesday.
She died at the scene in Broadlands, Netherfield and a dog which was a family pet has been destroyed, police confirmed. They said they are still working to establish what breed the dog was.
In an update on Wednesday, Superintendent Marc Tarbit said: “The child’s family are being supported by specially-trained officers and we’d ask that their privacy is respected.
“An investigation is currently under way to fully understand the circumstances but we currently believe that this was a tragic, isolated incident and there is no threat to the wider community.
“Accordingly, no arrests have been made at this time.
“I can confirm that the dog was a family pet and was put down by police on the scene yesterday evening.”
Neighbour Rita Matthews, 36, described Alice as a “happy little girl, very happy”.
“I know the girl. It’s so sad to hear that news,” she told the BBC.
“She was always holding her mummy’s hand on the way back.
“It’s so sad we’re not going to see the girl again and I pray all the best to her mum to get her strength back.”
Another neighbour told The Sun: “We heard desperate screams last night. I heard ‘she’s dead! She’s dead! They were piercing screams.”
The parent who has a child at the same school as Alice added: “[The screams] will stay with me forever. It was a nightmare. I’m heartbroken. They will haunt me.
“There is a dog there, it’s a big brown dog. I’ve only seen it at the house.”
Alice’s family are being supported by specially trained officers.
Superintendent Matt Bullivant described the incident as “a tragedy”.
He added: “This is an absolutely tragic incident, in which we believe that a child has been killed after being attacked by a dog.
“Clearly, we are in the very early stages of an investigation, and it would be wrong and unhelpful to speculate as to the exact circumstances of this incident at this point.
“However, in order to ensure public safety, a decision was made earlier this evening to destroy the dog involved, and this has been done humanely.
“I understand how much of an impact this will have on the community and on the wider public, and people can expect to see a large police presence in the area this evening and beyond while our investigation continues.
“I would like to reassure people that there is no reason to believe there is any danger to the wider public at this time.
“Anyone with concerns should feel free to approach our officers and ask questions, but I urge people not to speculate about the circumstances, especially on social media platforms.
“It is impossible to imagine what they (the family” must be going through at the moment.
“We will provide further updates when we are in a position to do so.”
If you have any information about this incident which you think could help our investigation, please call 101, quoting reference number 20230131-1546. Alternatively, you can make a report online, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.