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WANETTE, Okla. (KFOR) – A little girl is recovering after she was viciously attacked by three dogs that got loose on her street.

Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call Tuesday evening that a child had been bitten by a dog.

“Well, when he gets out there, he realizes it’s much, much different than that,” said Sheriff Mike Booth.

The 9-year-old was huddled in her mother’s arms, covered in a blanket when the deputy arrived to the girl’s home. When they lifted the blanket up, he saw that she was covered in “dog bites and several severe lacerations,” according to court documents.

“Just from the injuries, you know the pain that she’s in and the pain that the family’s in,” Booth said.

The girl told deputies it happened when she was riding her bike down the road from her home. She got off her bike to pick up some pretty rocks she saw to take home, and that’s when the three dogs attacked.

Investigators said she’ll likely need dozens of stitches, and could have lasting nerve-damage that could affect her mobility.

“It’s, it’s pretty tough,” the sheriff said. “Even as long as you’ve been doing what I’ve been doing, it’s pretty tough to see and understand and know what that child went through.”

Investigators learned the dogs came from Forgotten Treasure Animal Rescue, which is new to the area. Two of them were rescue dogs, the third was a family pet.

“Then [the owners] got there. They fully cooperated, and they did give us the records that the dogs did have their rabies shots,” Sheriff Booth said. “The owner said the dogs would be euthanized today or [were euthanized] yesterday.”

The situation is both heartbreaking and frustrating for the sheriff.

“We don’t really have animal control laws out in the county,” he said.

He believes incidents like these could be better prevented if owners could be cited when their animals get loose. It would add incentive to keep pets safely locked up, and provide funding for effective animal control.

In the meantime, he’s asking anyone to report loose animals they spot.

“The more incidents we have, the more reports that we have, the more ammunition we’ve got to go help to make changes,” Sheriff Booth said.

News 4 attempted to contact the owners of the dogs at their home and by phone, but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.

Forgotten Treasures Animal Rescue posted the following statement on Facebook on Friday:

As many of you have seen, there has been a horrific incident involving two of our foster dogs, a volunteer’s personal family dog and a 9 year old child. We at Forgotten Treasures are devastated that this happened. None of the dogs involved have ever shown signs of aggression, and the dogs broke out of their pen when no one was home. We are fully cooperating with authorities in this matter. The dogs involved are currently in mandatory quarantine pursuant to Oklahoma law and will be humanely euthanized when quarantine is complete. We are also repairing the damage to pen caused by the dogs in question and not using it until it is repaired. 

Our prayers are with this child and her family. While we understand the outrage you are feeling, please refrain from placing blame. To our knowledge, this child did nothing to provoke this attack. The rescue could not have reasonably foreseen the animals would escape or attack. It is a horrific tragedy. Please pray for all involved. We cannot and will not answer any questions at this time.”