A 7-year-old girl visiting her grandparents in Southwest Baltimore was mauled last night by a pit bull as family and frantic neighbors tried to force the dog to loosen its grip, city police and witnesses said.
The girl, Kasey Eyring, was taken by ambulance to Maryland Shock Trauma Center at University Hospital. The youngster was listed last night in serious condition with severe bites to her face and buttocks, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Neighbors who witnessed the attack beat the dog with sticks, kicked it and hit it with rocks to try to get it to release its grip, but the animal kept a vise-lock on the girl and pulled her from one side of the street to the other, her family said.
"The dog was dragging her around like a rag doll," said the girl's tearful grandmother, Elizabeth Koros. "Her sisters came and got me, and I ran down and I started kicking it, kicking it, trying to get it to let her go."
The dog was destroyed by the Bureau of Animal Control because of injuries it received from neighbors trying to help the girl.
Kasey and her two sisters, Annmarie Eyring, 9, and Amber Eitel, 14, were visiting their grandparents in the 900 block of Brunswick St. when the attack occurred about 7 p.m. yesterday. It was Amber's birthday, and the family was gathered to celebrate.
They had lived on the street until recently, when their mother moved with them to Howard County, the grandmother said.
"She was trying to get away from this kind of stuff," Koros said.
The dog was one of two grown pit bulls that were kept behind a wooden fence by their owner. Koros said there were several pit bull puppies on the property and that she believed the owner may have been breeding them.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the dog's owner had been asked by neighbors to fill a hole in the fence where the animal had been penned. She said the city had been called numerous times about the dog and another pit bull on the property running loose.
Police did not identify the dog's owner last night and family members were also unsure of the owner's identity.
Kasey was playing in the dead-end street when the dog jumped through a hole in the fence and latched onto her, said Kasey's sister, Annmarie.
"He grabbed onto her face and wouldn't let go," Annmarie said. "I started screaming and ran in the house."
When the dog finally loosened its grip, its owner jumped on top of it and held it down as police, medical workers and animal control officers arrived.
Kasey endured five hours of surgery last night and will probably have to go through many hours more, her grandmother said.
"He just tore her up, half her face," Koros said.
Carlton Granger, a supervisor with the Bureau of Animal Control, said the dog was bleeding profusely from shoulder wounds inflicted by neighbors, and was destroyed.
An investigation is under way, he said.