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Girl, 6, faces 'long journey' after dog attack

July 03, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 6-year-old Berkeley County girl who was attacked by a Rottweiler on Saturday afternoon is recovering at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, where she received more than 100 stitches for bite wounds, her mother said Monday.

"It's going to be a long journey," Jennifer Ramirez said of the anticipated recovery of her daughter, Maria Ramirez. "She's in a lot of pain today."

Ramirez said she and her three children were returning home from the 7-Eleven store on Berkeley Station Road when the dog attacked them on Rudolph Court about 3 p.m.

"He would bite her and circle around," Ramirez said in an interview from the hospital. "He wouldn't let us out of the circle."

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Ramirez said her daughter might need plastic surgery and could remain at the hospital for more than a week.

Ramirez believes the dog, one of two owned by a neighboring Rudolph Court resident, went through an open gate as the owner was moving a washer and dryer into his home.

Investigating Berkeley County Animal Control officer Christopher Lyons declined to identify the owner, but confirmed he could still be charged, pending further investigation.

Rather than proceed with a dog nuisance appeal board hearing, Lyons said the owner relinquished the female dog, which will be tested for rabies per procedure and euthanized by a veterinarian. The dog remains in isolation and the custody of Animal Control, Lyons said.

Lyons said witnesses have indicated the dog came out into the road and attacked the girl about 200 yards from the gravel road's connection with Williamsport Pike (U.S. 11).

"Some dogs don't like children," Lyons said.

A dog owner herself, Ramirez said her canines are regularly chained and behind a fence.

"When you have a dog, you have to be responsible," Ramirez said.

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