Mother of 9-year-old girl mauled by dogs speaks out on daughter’s recovery, hopes for change

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POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Two weeks after she was brutally attacked by three dogs, a little girl is back in the hospital due to complications from her injuries.

“She was hoping it was a dream, and she kept trying to wake herself up,” said Melissa Wilson. It’s a living nightmare she and her 9-year-old daughter, Willow, are still recovering from and likely will be for a long time.

“She’s scared because she doesn’t know what’s going to happen next,” Wilson said.

It all began two weeks ago when Willow was playing down the road from their home in Wanette. That’s when three dogs that escaped from Forgotten Treasures Animal Rescue attacked her.

“Basically pinned her to the ground and wouldn’t let her up,” Wilson said. “She said the only way they’d leave her alone is if she played dead.”

When it got dark, Melissa went out to find her. She discovered her daughter lying helpless and bloody.

“I got her on the porch and I just held her as tight as I could,” Melissa said. “I just didn’t want to lose my baby.”

Willow may have suffered lasting nerve damage. She was released from the hospital with more than 100 stitches.

However, some of her wounds are infected and won’t heal, sending her back to the hospital.

News 4 tried to reach the animal shelter, which is still advertising pets for adoption online. They didn’t respond, but have posted on Facebook:

“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. We do not believe the child did anything to provoke the attack. 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 the pen caused by the dogs in question and not using it until it is repaired.

Our prayers are with this child and her family. Our hearts are broken in every way for the child, the volunteers, and the dogs. While we certainly understand the outrage you are feeling, please refrain from placing blame. The rescue could not have reasonably foreseen the animals would escape or attack. It is a horrific tragedy. Please pray for all involved. Spreading hate towards our hard working volunteers who have tried to help make a difference in the lives of many, many animals, the rescue as a whole, or the dogs involved will help nothing and such comments will lead to being banned from this page.

We cannot and will not answer any questions at this time.”

“It is more than disappointing, I should say, that nothing can be done criminally,” said Melissa’s lawyer, Bob Dorsett.

He said there needs to be animal control laws in the county. Right now, you can’t be cited or charged if your animal gets loose.

“The county needs to have the ability to penalize the people,” he said.

He plans to file a civil suit on Willow’s behalf.

“We just need to make changes,” Melissa said. “These dogs need to be, the owners need to be held accountable, whatever it takes to keep others from going through this.”

A GoFundMe has been set up if you’d like to help.

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