Pit bull attacks 5-year-old girl from Columbia, placed in 10-day quarantine
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The family of a 5-year-old girl from Columbia who suffered a massive pit bull bite is calling for changes to animal welfare policies. The young girl was playing in her yard last Saturday when she reached out to stroke the dog and was attacked, leaving a large gash on her arm.
The girl’s grandmother, Dr Sonya Lewis, believes the dog is a danger to the community. She fears this could happen again and urges Richland County Animal Care to update its pest policies.
âIf a dog is mean and has turned out to be mean, then there is no need to wait for a second traumatic event to occur,â she said. “Each of these incidents should be treated as such, and this dog should not be in this community because none of us can sleep at night.”
The 5-year-old is traumatized, according to her family, but is doing well. She has had surgery to close the wound and is now recovering at home.
“We hope she will be able to get over this incident,” said Lewis. âBecause a lot of times you have an injury so traumatic that you may never fully recover psychologically from what happened. “
As a result of the incident, the dog’s owner received two citations. In addition, the pit bull was placed in home quarantine for 10 days.
After this time, the dog will be allowed to move around freely. Officials at Animal Care, which is a division of the county’s animal services department, say decisions that would lead to the impounding of a pest are made on a case-by-case basis.
In this case, the animal was on a leash at the time of the bite and there is no history of citations associated with that dog or address, according to Animal Case. Each of them played a role in their decision making.
According to Lewis, these actions are not enough. She feels that Animal Care has let her family down.
“The level of this bite and the cruelty of this attack, that alone should require this dog to be euthanized,” she said. âThis dog has a tendency to be vicious. I don’t care what they say or how they try to dress him, this dog shouldn’t be in this community.
Lewis said she did not feel safe outside of her son’s home now.
âThis dog is a danger not only to children, it is a danger to adults,â she said. âI am now afraid to go to my son’s house because I go there often enough to see my grandchildren and my son. But I’m scared now. I don’t want to go and I’m afraid to get out of the car. I constantly watch my back.
Lewis claims the dog could be seen breaking quarantine on Monday.
Animal Care says an initial investigation showed the pit bull was properly fenced in the owner’s yard. However, the family can contact their office to return to the property or share additional concerns, they say.
âSo to tell me now that you are expecting another attack which may be on my family or any of my other grandchildren, to me is just ridiculous,â Lewis said.
When asked if they thought the action taken in this case was sufficient, Animal Care said yes. They added that residents seeking to update or change policies regarding dangerous or vicious animals should contact their council representatives.
In a statement, Animal Care said even though the pit bull was not up to date on rabies vaccination, that is not a reason for the animal’s removal. Per South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations, the dog cannot be vaccinated during the 10-day quarantine. Animal Care will follow up after this time to make sure the dog is vaccinated, they say.
Richland County officials are encouraging those with concerns about pests in their neighborhood to contact Animal Care.
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