“They are heartbroken for their granddaughter:” One-year-old bitten in the face by grandparents’ dog

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RACINE (WITI) -- Racine police were called to St. Mary's Emergency Room on Tuesday, August 5th for a dog bite investigation.

Upon their arrival, officers learned that a one-year-old girl was visiting her grandparents when she was bitten in the face by the family dog.

Racine police say it happened at a home in the 1700 block of Linden Avenue.

The girl was suffering from severe facial injuries.

Due to the severity of her injuries, Flight for Life responded to transport the victim to Children's Hospital for emergency treatment.

Officers were advised by the victim's grandfather that he had put the dog on a leash to go outside, when the dog unexpectedly turned around and bit the child in the face.

The family was able to quickly get the dog off the child and she was immediately transported to the hospital for treatment.

Officials say the victim's injuries are severe, but not believed to be life-threatening.

"The family was very devastated. They did not anticipate something like this happening. Grandpa put the dog on a leash and was getting ready to take him outside for a walk. Something startled the dog, and it turned around quick and unexpectedly bit the child right in the face," Racine Police Sgt. Jessie Metoyer said.

The child's grandmother did not want to talk with FOX6 News on camera, but says the child likely pulled the dog's tail.

"It's very fortunate that they were able to get the dog off of her as quickly as they could," Metoyer said.

Dog trainer Janice DeMadona says this sort of attack doesn't surprise her.

"Any dog can bite. The most common dog bites are to children and from dogs that they know!" DeMadona said.

DeMadona says the key to stopping these incidents is understanding when a dog is under stress.

"People have to learn how to read their dog's body language," DeMadona said.

DeMadona says it's important to get the proper training so that a dog can expect the unexpected from a child.

"Teach a dog that, so it's not a shock when those kinds of things happen," DeMadona said.

It's advice that DeMadona hopes will stop other attacks like this one.

"They're heartbroken for their granddaughter," Metoyer said.

The dog, a three-year-old male Red Nose Pit Bull,  is up to date on vaccinations.

The owners were issued 10-day quarantine orders. A veterinarian will assess the situation after those 10 days are over.

The little girl's family members tell FOX6 News she has had surgery, and is expected to make a full recovery.


  • diane

    Again a pit bull…how can the grandparents live with themselves….no matter what anyone says this breed is dangerous unpredictable…and does not belong around children….

  • IMO

    Pitbulls are for the dull and ignorant. They should be banned. They aren’t even a breed (the AKC doesn’t recognize them as such) because they have a very diluted gene pool…..which means you do not know what kind of temperament you are getting when you attain one. Furthermore, they are bred my unscrupulous breeders who don’t care about quality, and therefore don’t produce anything of continuity. This poor child will have to live with these scars for the rest of her life now and be reminded of the gene pool she came from.

  • A Yoopper

    I am on English Bulldog number 4. It is amazing how many people mistake her for one of those worthless pit bulls. I would trust her with a new born baby. They are all animals but why has that breed (pit bull) been involved with so many attacks? Last time you heard of a Golden Retriever screw up? I agree with IMO. So sad that this poor child will grow up with a messed up face. All because Grama wanted a macho dog????

  • A Yoopper

    I just got back out of bed because I can’t sleep. I wanted to reread that report. Am I miss reading this, but is someone blaming that Little one year old girl for grabbing a pit bulls tail? One year old?? She is not walking, I guess. She wants a Teddy Bear. Not some worthless thing like that. I wanted to say mutt. But no! Mutts are some of the best dogs you could ever get. If Grama and Grampa were even close to caring, they would have had that thing put down on the spot!!!

    Just my point view. If you think I am wrong, write back in here.

  • Tiffanie

    You people are ignorant. An animal is an animal, plain and simple. The dog was startled and reacted. And YES 1 year old children walk…smh. As a kid a GOLDEN RETRIEVER mauled my cousin, he had hundredS of stitches and staples to put his head back together. As a kid a GERMAN SHEPARD attacked me, latched on to my ankle and would not stop until an adult yanked it off of me. It is about training, and understanding that ALL animals are subject to their ANIMAL instinct. The dog had all its shots and was clearly cared for. Get off your soap boxes, saying the grandparents did not care. Judgmental people…why not say a prayer for her recovery, a prayer for the grandparents and a prayer for yourself, more focused on your ignorant opinions than the concern for this unfortunate accident.

    • kf

      Well said, I totally agree! ANY breed or animal can bite or attack at any given moment! Stop blaming the Breed!

    • Jon McElle

      Here we are again. Pit bull viciously attacks child in face. As usual here is another pit bull advocate calling people ignorant for noticing that it was a pit. Some undocumented stories about other breeds attacking from her childhood. Then she tells us ANY animal could have done this, but again here we are at a stroy about a pit bull. Pits don’t just react, they over react. Every time they do, people like you call us ignorant.

      • MJ

        i agree a bad pit is dangerous but every so many years its a new breed. it was dobermans that got all the press before it was rotts now its pits. the problem is if another breed bites it doesnt make the news.

        I still agree that the reputation of the breed much like with rotts and dobermans before tends to draw the wrong kind of owner. If you want a dog for the purpose of intimidation the likely result is a violent dog that has had aggressive behavior reinforced.

        for a long time the most common dog attack breed was golden retrievers. it probably is pits now due to the amount of people who use them for things other than companionship.

      • Brittany

        The definition of ignorance is “lack of knowledge.” Pit bull defenders are not intending to offend these individuals, but rather pointing out that they do not have all of their information together. ANY animal can bite or attack, that is valid information. To back up this up, someone is allowed to point out if another breed attacked them as a child, just as others are allowed to post their over-the-top comments about pit bull type dogs. I say pit bull type, since pit bull is not a breed at all, rather a slang term most commonly referred to specific breeds, such as a Staffordshire. And since you do not seem to have proper knowledge, animals do not have the capacity to “over react”, they simply react in the way animals know how to react and defend themselves.

  • MJ

    I personally own two “pit” mixes that we got as 3 month old puppies. With basic obedience training and regular play they are able to run in my unfenced yard without any concern of them leaving the property.

    I would point more to the footage of the neighborhood. If people dont mow the lawn for a month or paint there houses what are the chances they have taken any time doing basic obedience training? probably pretty low. I do believe there are bad owners and many irresponsible “pit” breeders but any person invested in proper dog ownership can own any breed.

    Growing up we had several dog attacks from neighborhood dogs and two were rottwielers one was an airdale and the others were retrieving dogs. Most of those were children acting like fools and pulling on tails or otherwise repeatedly aggitating the animals. Be cautious with your kids and by all means if you see a snarling angry “pit” avoid at all cost because if one goes bad they are very powerful.

  • Daniel H. Antolec, CPDT-KA

    If the writer had not named the dog (breed) then the discussion might have been about the true cause of yet another tragic event: young children and dogs must be proactively and closely supervised, or kept apart. There were three elements involved: a toddler, a dog, a mature adult who presumably had experience with children and dogs. The toddler was not responsible for the dog and adult, and the dog was not responsible for the toddler and the adult. The grandfather was responsible for the toddler and the dog. When we do not see what happened, then we are not proactively supervising young children and dogs. Fix the problem through education and stop blaming the dogs or nothing will change. For education, I suggest reading “Dogs Bite but Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous” by Janis Bradley.

  • cburger2

    I wholeheartly agree with Daniel Antolec. I too am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and belong to the Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin (www.force free Wisconsin). As Janice stated in the article, dogs give very clear signals when they are stressed, and when ignored will resort to biting to get the point across. Education is the key to safety with dogs (of any breed) and children. FamilyPaws.com is a terrific resource to help families with dogs and children. Seeking training by a reputable, force-free trainer would also help prevent these tragedies. I wonder if this bite was from a Lab or Great Dane if the media would be reporting it?

  • A Yoopper

    I read all above lines. And yes any breed will do bad things. You are all correct. We all like our animals. I raise cattle. . It is all about the training. I just want to say sorry to the people that I may have offended. We are adults that love children and our dogs. Lets all hope that that little girl had the best surgeon on staff that day. I agree with two previous writers.

  • Janice

    As a dog trainer for almost 20 years, I have worked with many breeds. People call me because they are having challenges with their dog and they want to learn how they can help. Many times those challenges are based on some type of aggression. Aggression has absolutely nothing to do with the breed and it saddens me that the public buys into what the news media wants to throw at us because it grabs people’s attention. Animal behavior can and is proven by science and facts and both indicate that bully breeds are no more aggressive then another breed. It is a fact that most dog bites are to children and most are from dogs they know and are not by bully breeds. This would indicate to me that there was not proper supervision or education on the part of the guardians. All guardians of children and dogs need to be educated on how dogs and children can co-exist in a safe environment for both child and dog. All dog owners should take the time, whether they have children or not, to work with a dog training professional to learn how to “read” their dog and how to enrich their dog’s life by using positive force-free training methods. Here in Wisconsin, an excellent resource is http://www.forcefreewisconsin.com and nationally people can go to The Pet Professional Guild to find a force free trainer in their area.

  • Kat

    I am a member of Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin and also a licensed “Be A Tree” speaker through Doggone Safe. This is an internationally known dog bite prevention and support organization. Please visit their website for unbiased statistics and excellent education on dog bite prevention. There are many speakers who are willing to come to your area to talk about dog bite prevention. Education, supervision, and learning to read dog language are key to dog bite prevention, not targeting a specific breed. There are good resource websites in the previous posts. Please take a look at any, or better yet, all of them. Any dog can bite if pushed to it, its up to us make sure it doesn’t happen.

  • Laura Holder

    As many others have said, it is unfortunate that this news story had to identify the breed of dog in this specific incident. Any creature with a mouth can bite and every situation has a different set of ingredients to potentially cause the “perfect storm” that can lead to a growl, an air snap or a bite – remember the 2014 World Cup soccer player who bit the ear of his opponent? If put in a certain situation where all other requests have been ignored, I might resort to biting as well.
    Dogs are amazing companions and educating owners about dog “things,” such as how they communicate with us using their bodies and how they learn, are invaluable ways to help our canine companions thrive as members of our families. There are many things we can do to help set them up for success, including using reward-based training, eliminating all unnecessary stressors and giving them appropriate mental and physical stimulation.
    One thing that needs to be remembered: dogs will act like dogs. It is our job, as their companions and caregivers, to understand why they act in the ways that they do and help them live harmoniously with us for a happy life. Wishing the family peace and comfort while they heal…

  • A Yoopper

    Just overall a bad deal. Pray for the little girl. We need to make our pets compatible with children.

    By the way, when do kids start walking?

  • sarah

    I am sad reading all the comments. I didnt read anywhere that the grandmother blamed her granddaughter. She simply said she pulled her tail.the dog is up to date on shots and the owners are upset it happened.They obviously LOVE there grand child and there dog. There are far more small breed dog bites than large but smaller dogs have smaller bites.any dog that is hurt OR startled can bite.it dosnt make the dog viscous. The child was at face level with the dog so thats what was bit . Pitt bulls are not the most aggressive breed.jack Russels are in the top three. Hugs to the baby while recovering.And hugs to the grandparents, its a sad spot to be in…I as a pitt bull owner and a grandparent can only imagine your heartache.and for Gods sake stop with the pitt bull nonsense…it was a family pet/ not a tiger!

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