HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - The family of a Hamilton girl believes she is lucky to be alive after she was brutally attacked by a dog.
5-year-old Lilly-Mae Payne is recovering at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office charged the owner Justin Iceman, 37, with failure to confine a dangerous dog and failure to notify the dog warden of the attack.
Her grandmother Wendi Brown said Lilly was outside of her Hamilton home on Millikin Street, preparing to greet a relative on Saturday morning, when she was attacked.
Officials say the dog was a pit bull and this isn’t the first time it bit someone.
Brown said a neighbor’s dog was on a leash, but broke the leash and chased Lilly into her own yard and began biting her.
Lilly’s injuries from the incident, Brown said, are severe.
“Lacerations bad on her face, right by her temple," said Brown. "It broke her jaw in two places. They had to put a metal plate in. She has two bite marks on her rib cage on the right, and just several little ones.”
The Butler County Dog Wardens recently labeled the dog ‘dangerous’ from that separate attack on a child from September 2018, the sheriff’s office says.
They say the dog has now been upgraded to a ‘vicious’ dog and is scheduled to be euthanized.
“This little girl was minding her own business when this dog broke the leash and attacked her. I am glad that she is expected to be fine but fear this will have a lasting impression on her. We don’t know what prompted the attack, but this dog obviously should not be around people,“ said Sheriff Jones.
Payne suffered a fractured jaw and several open wounds on her head and face. She’s expected to make a full recovery.
Supporters are starting to show up for the family through online auctions, raffles, messages and visits.
“Everybody has been just wonderful," said Brown. "I can’t express that enough.”
Brown said that Iceman has been helpful and seems sincerely sorry. At the time of the attack she believed he is working with the Butler County dog wardens to quarantine the canine. This was before the sheriff’s office made the decision to euthanize the dog.
Lilly’s family is thankful that the little girl survived, knowing it was likely a close call. They said they are grateful for all of the first responders who helped her.
They hope her story of survival will encourage pet owners and parents to be proactive and to take precautions.
“If you have already had a dog that has already bitten one person, child, adult, it doesn’t matter, if you have them in your yard, please put a muzzle on them," said Brown. "I want the children to understand, do not just walk up to any dog because even the nicest dog can snap at you.”