Six-year-old attacked by neighbor’s dog

Child undergoes surgery after sustaining dog bites
Jul. 19, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

A 6-year-old girl sustained scratches and puncture wounds to her back and left arm after being bitten by a neighbor’s bulldog/pitbull mix at 160 North Main Street in Henrietta on Tuesday afternoon.

The owner of the dog also received bites to her left wrist and right calf area while she attempted to protect the child.

Because the child is underage, law enforcement is not releasing her name at this time, nor did law enforcement identify the dog owner for unknown reasons.

According to Lt. Leon Godlock, director of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Division, Rutherford County EMS was dispatched to the location of the incident but the child’s family decided to take her by private vehicle to Rutherford Regional Medical Center.

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the child was transferred to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville where she underwent her first surgery on Tuesday and additional surgery on Thursday afternoon.

Law enforcement seized the canine on the day of the incident and transported it to the Rutherford County Animal Shelter.

On Thursday afternoon, the owner surrendered the dog to the animal shelter.

“We will keep the dog for 10 days, beginning on July 16, the day of the incident, and the dog will be kept in quarantine because it was not current on its rabies shot,” Godlock said. “After the 10-day quarantine period the dog will be humanely euthanized.”

Had the owner not released the dog to the shelter, Godlock would have declared the dog “dangerous.”

“When an animal of that sort bites somebody and causes severe deformity or necessary surgery, then the state law and county ordinance gives me the right as the director of the animal shelter to declare the dog dangerous,” Godlock said, referencing G.S. 67-4.1. “And if the people had decided to keep the dog, then they would be under very strict restrictions via the county ordinance and state law.”

According to Godlock, there were no previous reports of bites, attacks or incidents involving the quarantined canine.

“But this one time is a bad first time,” he said.