TUPELO – Authorities are investigating why a family pet on Tuesday attacked an 18-month-old girl, who afterward required dozens of stitches to her face.
The incident happened at a home on Feemester Lake Road when the girl wandered outside and tried to pet a pit bull chained to a post.
Although the dog belonged to the family, it had spent the past several months in another home in Saltillo, said Tupelo-Lee Humane Society Investigator Jimmy Shelton.
“We’re trying to pinpoint whether the dog was being abused or being used as a guard dog or a fighting dog,” said Shelton, who is working with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.
Shelton emphasized that while pit bulls have a reputation as dangerous, any animal can inflict damage, especially those who have been mistreated. The lesson from this week’s tragedy, he said, isn’t that pit bulls are bad; it’s that children must be closely watched at all times.
After the attack, the dog was taken by its owner to the Saltillo Small Animal Hospital and euthanized.
The girl was reportedly released from North Mississippi Medical Center and is recovering at home.
Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal