Press-Republican

August 16, 2013

Girl attacked, injured by dog

By FELICIA KRIEG
Press-Republican

ALTONA — Police say an 8-year-old girl was attacked Monday by a dog.

The girl was approaching the front door of her relative’s neighbor on Wood Falls Road in the Town of Altona when she was attacked by the homeowner’s 2-year-old pit bull, State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. John Coryea said.

Police were unable to release the girl’s name, but Tina Peryea, the girl’s aunt, said she is Olivia Downey of Altona.

Peryea said the dog is owned by John Fletcher, who lives next door to her sister-in-law, Karen Trombley.

The dog is usually kept in a kennel, but it was being fed outside of the enclosure in the residence when the girl came to the house, Coryea said.

The dog ran out the front door and began attacking the girl, Coryea said.

Fletcher was able to gain control of the pit bull, but the girl suffered multiple bites to her face, head, neck, hands and legs, he said.

’LIKELY BE EUTHANIZED’

Downey was taken to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh for treatment, Coryea said.

Her injuries were non life-threatening, the lieutenant said.

The pit bull is current on vaccinations and is being held for observation, Coryea said.

“It will likely be euthanized at the conclusion of the observation.”

’VERY TRAUMATIZED’

Peryea said Fletcher lives with his girlfriend and her two children in the home, and Downey had often played with the children.

“She never went in the house. She just knocks on the door,” Peryea said.

At one point, the dog had Downey by the throat, she said.

“She is so torn up,” Peryea said. “She’s very traumatized.”

“At first, she didn’t remember anything at all.”

Peryea said Downey is reluctant to talk about the incident.

While a dog’s behavior is due in large part to its training and upbringing, Peryea said, some breeds are known to be more dangerous than others.

“I’m not saying they’re the worst animal in the world,” she said of pit bulls. “(But) if you have children, you shouldn’t have pit bulls in your home. Especially in a cage day-in and day-out.”

‘VERY BAD INJURIES’

Attorney Daniel P. Dagostino of the Albany-based law firm of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti will be representing the girl and her family in a civil suit against Fletcher.

“Right now, we’re concerned about her daughter’s health,” Dagostino said of Amy Downey. “She has some very, very bad injuries.”

Olivia is under the treatment of multiple physicians and has received treatment from a plastic surgeon.

Coupled with her physical injuries is considerable emotional trauma, Dagostino said.

“We have to be sensitive to her,” Dagostino said. “She’s recovering.”

Email Felicia Krieg: fkrieg@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @FeliciaKrieg