MISSOURI -- A dog estimated to be more than 100 pounds attacked a 2-year-old girl from southeastern Audrain County on Thursday, causing injuries serious enough that medical personnel took the girl to University Hospital by helicopter.
Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller said the attack occurred sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. between Wellsville and Martinsburg.
The girl was at her aunt's house and they, along with the family's five-year old Rottweiler had been walking the family farm to check on some cattle, Oller said. When the group returned to the house, the girl started playing with her aunt, giggling and running around a swing set in the yard, but not interacting with the dog, Oller said.
The dog rushed toward the girl, biting her as the aunt hit, kicked and yelled at the dog before throwing herself between the animal and her niece Oller said. The dog continued its attack, biting the aunt several times, leaving wounds to the back of her head, Oller said. After some time had passed the dog walked away from the aunt and the child, Oller said.
The girl was taken by helicopter to University Hospital, and later transferred to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Deputies and medics described the girl as having “multiple serious injuries,” including severe bite marks to the head, lower abdomen and hip, Oller said. The family told deputies that the dog had never been aggressive before Thursday, Oller said.
Oller said dog attacks this serious are so rare that he had never encountered one in his 22 years in law enforcement. The Audrain County Sheriff’s Office took possession of the dog Friday, Oller said.
Per state statute, the dog will be impounded with the sheriff’s office for 10 days, during which time the family can appeal to keep the dog alive. If the family does not appeal, the dog will be put down by a contracted veterinarian after being evaluated for disease, Oller said.
Oller said the family had been told about the sheriff’s office taking the dog, but he does not know the girl’s medical condition.
Oller said he wanted to give the family space.
“They obviously have a lot on their minds right now,” he said.
The Rottweiler belonged to the girl’s older cousin, the mother said, and it stays at the aunt’s house when her son travels for work. The mother said the dog had always been well behaved before Thursday’s attack.
(Columbia Daily Tribune - April 21, 2017)