ELYRIA, Ohio- The family of an Elyria girl, who was mauled by a dog last month, turns to the FOX 8 I-Team after authorities refuse to euthanize the animal.
It was on September 9 that Roxie Hamilton, 11, was mauled by an American Bulldog, while visiting the home of a friend in Elyria.
Roxie told the I-Team, "As I was bending over, the dog just ran at me, and grabbed my face, and I grabbed his jaw, and I tried ripping him off of me and he got my finger."
The dog only released his grip on the child’s face after her 15-year-old sister began striking the animal.
Autumn Hamilton was horrified by the injuries suffered by her little sister, but she knew she had to stabilize Roxie, who was on the verge of passing out. Autumn Hamilton told FOX 8, "She was just like dripping blood everywhere. That's when I pushed her face up; it was hanging and so I put it up and put as much pressure as I could on it." Roxie Hamilton said, "She saved my life."
The child’s face was wrapped in bandages, when her mother arrived at the scene and found her daughter on a stretcher in a life squad.
Beth Hamilton told us, "I just lost it. I broke down into tears." After her daughter was rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland for emergency surgery, Hamilton confronted the owner of the American Bulldog, Sarah Long, who is a friend of the Hamilton family.
Hamilton told the I-Team, "I looked at her and said 'sorry your dog has got to die, that's first, I mean I said your dog's got to die, and she's like 'I want them to take him.' She begged them to take the dog."
Hamilton and Long both said employees with the Lorain County Dog Warden's Office refused to take the dog, even though the owner was adamant that she wanted the dog euthanized. Long told us, "I told them I want the dog out of here, after he did that and he tasted blood, I don't know what he's capable of."
Beth Hamilton added, "You know, then he tells me 'I can't just go take a dog. It has an owner.' You know, it ripped my daughter's face off, so why would, that is enough reason right there, owner or no owner, to take the dog, especially when the owner is begging them to take the dog."
According to the Lorain County Dog Warden's Office, the dog was not seized immediately because by law, it had to be quarantined by the owner for 10 days.
When the quarantine was up, Sarah Long said she again told the dog warden that she wanted to have the dog euthanized, but was notified by the Elyria Health Department that the dog could not be put down, because he had never been given a rabies vaccine by a veterinarian. Long was also warned that she could be prosecuted if she had him euthanized before he received the vaccine. "It's sad because honestly we've been ready for this," said Long.
When the I-Team asked Elyria Health Department supervisor David Oakes why the dog had not been put down 23 days after the mauling, Oakes told us, “That is because the owner of the animal has not proceeded to either do so, or provide us with the rabies vaccination information."
Oakes maintains the handling of the mauling of Roxie Hamilton has been by the book. When asked if he could see why someone would think it was idiotic to get the dog vaccinated, and then have the animal euthanized, Oakes responded, "The follow-up vaccination is to meet city ordinance that all animals shall be vaccinated."
But the family of Roxie Hamilton said the city's policies are causing them undue anguish. "I don't know what the dog's going to do and it just bothers me that it attacked my child and could have killed her, and it's still breathing. I mean, that's just, it bothers me," said Beth Hamilton.
As of Wednesday night, the dog was still being held at the home of his owner.