A 9-year-old girl was hospitalized after she was attacked by a pit bull while standing at her bus stop in southern Stafford County on Friday morning, according to authorities.
The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office was called just before 8:30 a.m. to the Kendallwood Estates subdivision on a report of a dog attacking a child.
The Grafton Village Elementary School student was transported to Mary Washington Hospital, where she underwent surgery for bite wounds to the arms, legs and back, Sheriff’s Maj. David Decatur said. The injuries were non-life threatening, he said.
“Some of them [bite wounds] looked pretty severe. Not just a puncture wound, but actual tears,” Decatur said.
The owner surrendered the 11-month-old dog, which Decatur identified as a pit bull, to Stafford County Animal Control. The county will put down the animal after a required 10-day rabies observation period, Decatur said.
He said the Sheriff’s Office was preparing warrants Friday night charging the owner with four misdemeanors: destructive or annoying dogs running at large and three counts of not having a county dog license.
The dog is not neutered, but its rabies vaccinations are up-to-date, he said.
“They aren’t going to risk adopting it out,” Decatur said. “It was an unprovoked attack.”
Donna Marino said she was standing outside her Karen Terrace home just across from the bus stop when she heard her neighbor’s two Labradors and pit bull start barking as the dogs raced out of the neighbor’s yard.
She then saw the approximately 50-pound pit bull on top of the young girl after the dog had knocked her into a shallow ditch off the side of the road. The girl was standing alone at the bus stop, located at the intersection of Karen Terrace and Jessica Rae Lane.
Tony Marino, Donna’s husband, ran to the girl and picked her up almost at the same time that two other neighbors got to the scene. But the girl had already suffered several bites to her legs, back and arms, he said.
“I’ve seen some awful things in the military, but I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said.
Even while the girl was in Marino’s arms and the two other men were hitting the dog with brooms, the pit bull kept trying to get to the child, neighbors said.
“From what I saw, that dog chewed her down to the bone,” said Harry Fairbanks, another neighbor who grabbed a broom and hit the dog several times.
After one or two minutes, the dog’s owner ran out of the house and jumped on the animal, neighbors said. But the dog wriggled out of the owner’s arms several times and ran back toward the girl before the owner managed to get the animal back into its house, neighbors said.
A man who answered the door at the owner’s home declined to comment.
Decatur said that the dog had gotten loose by jumping over the fence. Donna Fairbanks said the section of the owner’s fence next to her home fell down a couple of days ago.
Tony Marino said that the fence is cobbled together with chicken and barbed wire and other materials.
Neighbors said it was not the first time they had seen the pit bull loose and acting aggressively, but it was the first time in their knowledge that it attacked anyone.
On the first day of school, Fairbanks stood next to the girl at the bus stop with his weed trimmer in hand after he saw the pit bull barking at the young girl.
Dale Fairbanks, Harry’s wife, said that the dog also started stalking another neighbor in that neighbor’s yard while she was outside doing yard work several days ago.
Neighbors didn’t know if the owners had been notified of those incidents. Decatur said that it was the first time that the Sheriff’s Office has been called to the house for a dog-related issue.
The 9-year-old girl lives on Jessica Rae Lane, three houses down from the bus stop. Her parents usually watch from the home to make sure that she gets on to the bus OK, Donna Marino said. Donna ran down and let the girl’s parents know what was happening Friday.