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Police arrest mother of baby saved by dog

/ Source: The Associated Press

Police arrested the suspected mother of an infant girl — dubbed “Angel” by hospital officials — who was abandoned in a Kenyan forest and reportedly rescued by a stray dog, officials said Thursday.

The young woman, who acknowledged she was pregnant but claimed she miscarried, was arrested Wednesday night following a tip, Lang’ata District Police Commander Joshua Omukata told The Associated Press.

The woman lives in the neighborhood where Angel was found and “was seen pregnant days before the child was discovered in a group of dogs,” Omukata said. “She claims that she ... miscarried some two weeks ago.”

Doctors believe the infant was about two weeks old when she was found Friday.

Police plan to take the woman for a medical examination. “We are in the middle of investigations. We don’t have any other suspect at the moment.” Omukata said.

Outpouring of concern

A government spokesman and others have expressed some skepticism about the story of the dog’s role in saving the child, saying it may be too good to be true. But many have been touched by reports of the rescue. The story continues to attract an outpouring of concern in Kenya as well as abroad.

Unwanted infants are often abandoned in Kenya, with poverty and failed relationships frequently to blame. Kenya’s weak law enforcement and social security systems mean that most people who forsake their babies are never caught.

At the Kenyatta National Hospital, where Angel is being treated for exposure and an infection in her umbilical cord, 16 abandoned children are currently being cared for.

The dog apparently found the baby wrapped in a plastic bag in the nearby Ngong Forest, said Mary Adhiambo and other neighbors who witnessed the baby’s recovery in a litter of puppies.

The dog, now called “Mkombozi” or “Savior,” reportedly dragged the baby across a road and through some barbed wire to a compound in the poor Nairobi neighborhood where puppies from two stray dogs were sheltering.

“I saw a dog carrying a baby wrapped in a black dirty cloth as it crossed the road,” witness Stephen Thoya was quoted by the independent Daily Nation newspaper as saying. “I was shocked at first, and when I tried to get a closer look, the dog ran through the fence and disappeared along a dirt road.”

The infant was discovered after two children said they heard the sound of a baby crying near their wooden and corrugated-iron shack. Residents found the infant lying next to the dog and her own pup.

Well-wishers as far as the United States have sent e-mails to The Associated Press and called the country’s main hospital to inquire about adopting the child.

Others sent e-mails with offers of adopting the dog. But Mary Adhiambo, who has now adopted the animal, said she was not ready to give up the canine.