|I think it should always be the case that you NEVER leave an animal alone with a baby or child - No matter cat or dog.
Absolutely - no questions asked.
I believe that no animal needs to be pts because of behavioural aggression issues. These days, there is so much more understanding of animal behaviour - especially dog behaviour - that reasons for and modification of the behaviour can be achieved. But it can be very hard work which can be too much for some people to manage. That's fair enough - not everyone is a dog expert trained in behaviour modification. Sometimes being pts is the only viable option. It is not always possible to find a home and the time and training to help these animals. But I firmly believe that unless a dog has been abused to the point of no return (it simply cannot function anymore) then it can be helped and be a good and safe dog.
In the cases of dogs mauling babies, well, the answer seems pretty obvious to me. The dogs are jealous. Babies are incredibly consuming for their new parents - and the animal that used to be the baby is now pretty much relegated to the back yard. How awful for the poor creatures. I have seen it so many times - a baby comes along and the dog is ignored, left out the back 24/7 with no more attention and no more time with the family. People don't think about how that must feel, because they think animals have no feelings. And then they are surprised and dismayed when the dog attacks their child (which of course it's going to do - it has to have an outlet for its loneliness and rejection) and then the poor dog gets pts. It's heartbreaking.
It is my fervent hope that our dogs will remain as much a part of our family after the baby as they are now. We have our pram already, and I am walking it with a doll in it with the dogs, so by the time bub comes there's nothing new about this. I also carry the doll around, and pay attention to it more than the dogs at times, so that they learn early on that when I am carrying a small human-like object they don't get my time, and they can't be underfoot or bother me. This doll cries like a baby, too, so when it cries the dogs have to back off. We have already purchased two baby gates, and are training the dogs that there are two rooms in the house they are no longer allowed in. They are spending structured alone time out the back while we are home so they get used to it, and they are now no longer allowed on any piece of furniture they feel like getting up on. It is taking time and we are doing it gradually, but I have six months to go and I feel confident that by the time our baby comes it will not be such a novelty or even all that interesting to the dogs, and they will have learnt their new boundaries already, and settled into them, so they can still be a part of the family and loved and cherished and have no cause to get jealous.
We will introduce the baby to them properly, fully supervised, so that they can sniff and lick and do all the things dogs like to do when they meet someone new - again, so there's no more novelty. We are doing these things because we will not have much time after the bub comes, and we don't want a huge culture shock for our dogs that may make them jealous and angry. I mean, often older siblings can be jealous and hostile and even violent towards younger ones - we don't put them down, do we? We teach them, and take the time to work it out. Same with dogs. If more people did it, there'd be less of this kind of thing.
But the main key as Jane said is - supervise, supervise, supervise. ALL children, with ALL pets, no matter what age the child or the pet. It's the only way to ensure that this kind of tragedy does not happen in your own home.