A 3-year-old Florida girl will have scars on her face forever after a neighbor’s pit bull mauled her Wednesday afternoon.
Ja’riyah Jones was playing with friends outside her grandfather’s house in Palm Beach Gardens when her mother, 24-year-old Courtney Christon, briefly went inside to get water.
But she was soon called back outside when she heard the kids yelling and screaming.
Marked: 3-year-old Ja’riyah Jones was playing outside her grandfather’s house Wednesday afternoon when a neighbor’s pit bull mauled her face, leaving irremovable scars
At first she thought Ja’riyah had just fallen while riding her scooter, but the kids soon pointed out the perpetrator.
‘I was told by the little boy that she was playing with that she was on the sidewalk by the dog. He jumped out and bit her,’ Ms Christon told WSVN.
Ja’riyah was taken to St Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach and treated for lacerations on the side of her face and lips.
The trauma surgeon who treated Ja’riyah said she was recovering fine but that she’ll have the scars on her face forever. She was due to be released sometime this weekend.
Her mother is afraid about the affect this will have on her daughter’s self-esteem in the future.
In a press conference held at the hospital on Friday, Ja’riyah seemed to be doing fine as she silently sucked on a lollipop while her mother and grandfather talked about the incident.
The adults blamed neighbor Dale Byrd for leaving his 6-year-old dog Rusty unattended.
Byrd told WSVN that he tethered Rusty to his car while he outside working.
He says that it was when he went inside to clean up that the dog bit Ja’riyah.
‘Rusty is my pet. He is not a mean dog. He reacted briefly,’ Mr Byrd said.
But Ja’riyah’s grandfather Cornelius Christon says that’s not the case.
‘Dale was in the house for hours; he wasn’t out there. I know this for a fact,’ Mr Christon said.
Mr Christon added that he had to go over to his neighbors house just to inform him of what happened to Ja’riyah.
Rusty is being held under quarantine for 10 days by Palm Beach County Animal Care and Contol. Authorities there have not yet decided if Rusty fits dangerous dog criteria since he has been friendly to employees.
But Mr Christon thinks the dog should be given away once out of quarantine.
‘The dog has a taste of blood … of human flesh now and in my opinion, if he’ll do it now – he’ll do it again.’
Mr Christon owns a pit bull himself, but says he’s now going to give it away since he doesn’t know how Ja’riyah will respond to dogs.
‘She might be terrified of dogs. Even though I own a pit bull, I say the dog, now, he is fit to be gone as of today. I don’t know how she’s going to react to the dog. I hate to do it to him but he has got to leave my house now because of her.’
Dale Byrd has been cited for four offenses related to Rusty’s attack Wednesday including unlawful tethering of an animal, not having proof of a rabies vaccine, not having proof of a license tag and possession of an unsterilized animal.
He also faces $250 in fines.