DETROIT - A 10-year-old girl is in very critical condition after being attacked by a dog on Detroit's east side, police said.
The incident happened around 1:15 p.m. Saturday in the 10700 block of Beaconsfield Street off Whittier Avenue.
Police said the girl was playing in a backyard when a dog exited the house and attacked her. The pit bull somehow managed to get out of a second-floor gated room and into the backyard, where the girl and her aunt were visiting.
"The occupants knew the dog was a vicious animal, so when strangers are around they secure the dog. But in this instance, the dog left the upstairs, came down, the gated door was ajar, the dog left and immediately began attacking this child," Chief James Craig said.
The girl's 55-year-old aunt intervened in an attempt to stop the attack, but the dog then attacked the aunt, wounding her leg, police said.
"The dog severed one limb, possibly her arm, and possibly a second limb or foot," Craig said.
Ralphael Jackson held what was left of the broken shovel he used to stop the pit bull from mauling the girl.
Jackson heard the cries across the street. He came running with the shovel. As Jackson beat the dog, the girl's aunt tried shielding her.
"The clock is ticking and it's only for so long you can lose blood, and I'm just hoping the dog doesn't cause any more damage," Jackson said.
But the dog's bite was locked on the child's arm, an image embedded in Jackson's mind. Someone tried bringing the pit bull some food.
"It wasn't even think about that food, because at this point, it smelled blood," Jackson said.
The girl was taken to St. John Hospital and taken into surgery. Police said she is in extremely critical condition. The aunt is also being treated.
The chief was visibly upset not only by Saturday's mauling, but to learn the same pit bull attacked a DTE worker a year ago.
"Why is this dog allowed to stay here when we already have a history of the dog being vicious?" Craig said.
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