FALMOUTH (CBS) – A 1-year-old girl has life-threatening injuries after she was attacked by the family dog, authorities say.

Falmouth police say the girl was playing in the kitchen with her father nearby Sunday morning when the pit bull terrier attacked and bit her in the face.

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Her father was unable to separate the dog from the child, police said. He grabbed a pistol but when he realized it was unloaded he picked up a knife and stabbed the pit bull.

First responders arrived to the home on Brick Kiln Road just before 9 a.m. An ambulance took the girl to Falmouth Hospital, where she was then flown by helicopter to a Boston area hospital.

A 1-year-old girl is prepared to be flown to a Boston hospital after a pit bull attack. (Photo credit: David Curran/SatelliteNewsService.com)

Her condition was not immediately known but Falmouth fire Lt. Scott Stanbard told WBZ-TV her injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

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The dog was fatally wounded by the owner, police said.

The family has owned the pit bull for five years and it has no known history of violence or aggression, according to a preliminary police investigation.

Neighbor Anne Mello was shocked when she learned the news.

“Never seen the dog aggressive in any such way. On a couple occasions my dog got loose and ran over to his dog and it never showed any aggression. It seemed like a normal pet dog,” she said.

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The attack appeared to be unprovoked, but authorities are investigating.