A three-year-old girl has been left needing 15 stitches after a ‘service’ pit bull bit her face during a vicious attack.
Cleveratta Gordon-Waldroup said her daughter, Ronin Waldroup, was in tears as the dog, which was wearing a service dog coat, attacked the little girl at a Texas restaurant on Saturday (local time).
Ronin walked a few steps ahead of her parents to get some chicken nuggets and came face-to-face with the animal.
‘She just dropped like a rag doll’
Family friend Kimberly Parker witnessed the attack.
"It had a hold of her face shook her. The lady pulled on the leash, the dog released her and she just dropped like a rag doll,” she told Fox45 News.
As Ms Gordon-Waldroup assessed her child to see if she was ok, she says the woman and her dog left the restaurant in a hurry.
“The owner of the dog decided to run from the scene of the crime,” Ms Gordon-Waldroup said.
Ronin was taken to hospital and had 15 stitches sewn into her face.
Doctors told her parents she would have minimal scarring but would need to see a plastic surgeon.
Ms Gordon-Waldroup has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help pay for her daughter’s medical bills and track down the owner of the dog.
“I'm begging for justice for my little girl,” she wrote on the page that has so far raised over $13,500.
‘Mummy, I’m ugly’
A heartbroken Ms Gordon-Waldroup told Fox45 she recently walked in on her daughter smothering makeup over her face in an effort to hide the wounds on her face.
“She's trying to put makeup on her face when I asked her why she's doing that. For a three-year-old to turn to me and say, 'Mommy, I'm ugly' - It's earth-shattering,” she said.
Ms Gordon-Waldroup said she doesn’t believe the dog who attacked her daughter was a certified service dog and suspects the pet owner had simply placed a false coat on so she could bring it inside the restaurant.
“We love service animals of all breeds and sizes but as we are going through this we are finding more information that just about anyone can purchase a service animal vest online or wherever to have their pet out in public,” she wrote on GoFundMe.
After Ronin’s medical bills are paid for, Ms Gordon-Waldroup will use the rest of the money toward attempting to change the laws surrounding service animal registration.
“We will be proactive in changing the laws for service animals and training…whether we have to go through the courts system or take it all the way up to the lawmakers we know that with proper legal action we can change the course of action for future circumstances,” she wrote
Local police have now identified the dog’s owner and are investigating the incident.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.