***VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED***
AUSTIN, Texas - The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is evicting a tenant after their pit bull attacked a four-year-old girl.
"She’s just a good little girl. She likes animals even though she was viciously attacked," said Makeba Lafleur-Davis, Sahirah’s grandmother.
On May 20, four-year-old Sahirah was attacked by a pit bull mix at the Meadowbrook Apartments in South Austin. She now has to wear a bandage over her face as her wounds heal.
"The bite went through her cheek, so there are stitches inside of her mouth as well," said Lafleur-Davis.
Lafleur-Davis says Sahirah was playing outside under the watch of her mother when a woman walked by with a dog on a leash.
Sahirah’s mother says her daughter loves dogs, so she asked if the dog was friendly and if Sahirah could pet it. The woman walking the dog said yes, and then the four-year-old continued to play. When Sahirah went back to the dog a second time, the dog attacked her, and the owner released the leash.
"The dog went full-fledged on Sahirah, and the owner did not command the dog to get off of her or try to pull the dog off of her," said Lafleur-Davis.
Sahirah’s mom let out a loud scream which scared the dog off her daughter. She says her daughter was lying on the ground lifeless and bleeding. Sahirah was rushed to the hospital where she went into surgery.
Her family has set up a GoFundMe for her medical expenses.
According to the lease at the Meadowbrook Apartments, pets must be kept on a leash and weigh no more than 30 pounds. It also lists pit bulls and pit bull mixes as restricted breeds not allowed to reside on the property.
Because of this, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin has initiated eviction proceedings against the tenant owners of the pit bull.
Sahirah’s family says the owner of the dog has not reached out to them to apologize.
"It makes me upset. It just makes me more upset that there is no humanity to the situation. It's been ten days now and the owner has not come by, has not tried to reach out, has not tried to apologize," said Lafleur-Davis.
MORE AUSTIN NEWS
- Texas man described as serial killer by police arrested for multiple murders
- Seven people injured in 'bee swarm attack' near Southeast Austin park
- Austin firefighter stabbed while putting out fires along I-35; suspect arrested
FOX 7 Austin walked over to where the tenant who owns the pit bull lives. He agreed to speak to FOX 7 anonymously and said his dog is not aggressive.
He revealed his sister was the one who was walking the dog when the incident happened and his understanding of what unfolded is based on her recollection. He said the little girl came up behind his dog which sparked the attack.
He said he was shocked to hear about what happened and claimed he offered to help the family with medical expenses. The family denies that happened.
He told FOX 7 his dog is in animal control’s custody. He believes this situation has gotten out of hand.
"It's just like the matter of the incident that happened, you know what I'm saying? And it's just a little girl. We understand, and we take responsibility," said the dog owner.
HACA released a statement to FOX 7 Austin on the incident, saying:
"The Housing Authority of the City of Austin was made aware of a recent incident that took place at one of its properties, Pathways at Meadowbrook Apartments, in which a pit bull dog attacked a four-year-old resident of the property. HACA is grateful that the child received prompt medical attention. We reached out to the child’s family and offered our assistance and hopes for her speedy recovery.
The attack occurred in the common area of the apartment complex. The pit bull was outdoors without a leash or restraint when the incident occurred.
In response to this incident, HACA management has initiated eviction proceedings against the tenant owners of the pit bull. Eviction is warranted given that the tenants were in violation of the terms of the lease and of HACA’s pet policies which explicitly prohibit both the possession of pit bull breeds and any animals weighing more than 30 pounds. The owners were also apparently in violation of a City of Austin ordinance which requires that dogs be kept on a leash and under control in all areas that are not designated as "off-leash."