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Altus Girl Attacked by Neglected Dog

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ALTUS Okla_ An Altus girl is in the hospital Friday after police say she was bitten on the face by dog.

Police received a call from Jackson County Memorial Hospital Thursday afternoon saying a 7-year-old girl was being treated for lacerations to her face. Animal control went to the scene of the incident and found a pit bull/chow mix with blood on the ground nearby.

The dog's owner, Kevin Lawrence, has received citations in the past few months for letting his animals run free, as well as not getting rabies vaccinations for either of his dogs, including the dog that bit the girl. At first, Lawrence was reluctant to talk but then told 7News the girl was playing in his backyard at the time.

"I don't know what happened," Lawrence said. "I just know that the little girl was standing on my dog's chain, and the next thing I know it, got bit."

Altus police say an animal control officer went to both the hospital to check on the child and to the location where the incident occurred.

"The homeowner was cooperative and took him around back and showed him where the dog was chained up," Altus Police Captain Tommy Uptergrove said. "He was chained up on a chain approximately 8 feet long. He did say there were blood droplets in the area where he said the attack had occurred."

While Lawrence didn't witness the attack, he does say he knew the little girl was in his backyard playing with his children. Animal control officers took the dog for the mandatory ten day quarantine, and if the dog were to have rabies, the girl's recovery could be complicated.

"Anytime you have a animal at large like that, especially a vicious one, everybody walking to school, coming home from school, and anyone out in the area is in danger from it," Uptergrove said.

Uptergrove said they have several dog attacks every year, but not usually this vicious.

"Our animal control officers are pretty diligent about citing for animals at large to try to deter that kind of behavior," Uptergrove said.

Lawrence said he will be getting his other dog up to date on its shots.

"I'm a very pit-awareness guy," Lawrence said. "I feel sorry the girl got bit, but if a pit bites somebody, put it down."

The girl who was bitten was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital for treatment, but police say it appears her injuries were bite lacerations and scratches.

Police did give Lawrence a citation for animal cruelty, because the dog's chain was only eight feet long, instead of the required ten feet. The dog also didn't have water.


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