North Fort Myers 3 year-old mauled by dog

Victim's family is upset the dog still has not been confiscated

CREATED Dec. 11, 2013

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NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A North Fort Myers girl is recovering after a neighbor's dog allegedly mauled her face.  
 
The three year-old was sitting in her front yard Sunday morning when the dog attacked her, causing several puncture wounds to her lip and upper cheek, requiring nine stitches.  
 
Her mom, Michelle Dearing, is angered because the dog is still living just a few doors down from her home. 
 
"The dog just lunged at her without a warning sign, it just lunged at her face," Dearing said.
 
"I'm concerned it's going to maul somebody worse than it did my daughter."
 
Lee County Domestic Animal Services responded to the incident and order the dog's owner to keep the dog in quarantine inside the home for 10 days.
 
Dearing said quarantine will not prevent the dog from attacking again in the future. 
 
Animal Services Operations Manager Glenn Johnson couldn't comment on this case specifically, saying it's an open investigation.  
 
In general, however, he said any dog who viciously attacks a human will likely be taken from its owner. 
 
"If it's a severe bit, broken bones, multiple puncture wounds, then the dog would be subject to being taken if we have the evidence," Johnson said. 
 
Before any action can take place, Animal Services officers must collect all evidence- photos, medical bills, sworn statements- and make contact with the victim and the dog's owner. 
 
The family fears this owner will not face punishment if he doesn't answer his door when Animal Services officials try to reach him. 
 
"I can definitely sympathize with them," Johnson said. "This is a common issue... we will eventually catch up with him."
 
In the meantime, Dearing said she's living in fear that the dog will come back.
 
She also said she's saddened knowing her daughter's sweet smile will never be the same. 
 
"She's going to have a definite scar for the rest of her life because of this.. and she didn't ask for it," she said.
 
"It's just very unfair."