The Washington Post

Charles County girl critically injured in dog attack

A 5-year-old Charles County girl was in critical condition Thursday afternoon after a vicious dog attack, the sheriff’s office said.

Police said the girl was in the care of her mother’s boyfriend when she wandered unsupervised into the back yard of her home in the 8600 block of Billingsley Road in White Plains, Md. Police called to the scene about 6 p.m. Wednesday found the girl on the ground, naked and wounded.

The girl’s ears were severed in the attack, sheriff’s spokeswoman Diane Richardson said. “The dogs had ripped the clothes right off of her,” she said. “She was suffering from multiple dog bites, lacerations and other injuries on her face, neck and body.”

The girl was flown to Children’s National Medical Center in the District. She has stabilized and is expected to survive, Richardson said Thursday.

Richardson said the girl and her mother had recently moved into the home, where the boyfriend lived with his grandmother and kept an English bulldog and two Presa Canarios.

Police think that at least two of the dogs — the bulldog and one of the Presa Canarios — were involved in the attack. Both were found in the yard, outside a kennel. The two loose dogs were euthanized by Charles County animal control Thursday morning and the third dog was removed from the home, Richardson said.

“We have a lot to do in terms of the investigation to try and find out what happened,” she said.

The yard has a chain-link fence and a privacy fence in addition to the enclosed kennel, Richardson said. She said that investigators do not know whether the dogs were already loose in the yard when the attack occurred or were let out of the kennel by the child.

A neighbor, Robert Schmuck, said the occupants of the home had moved in about six months ago. He said that no one was there when he visited Thursday morning.

Investigators are trying to determine whether there had been any animal-control complaints at the address before this week.

Annie Gowen is The Post’s India bureau chief and has reported for the Post throughout South Asia and the Middle East.

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