WARNING: An image and the description of the attack in this story may be upsetting to some readers.
What started as a weekly family picnic at a beach in the West Kootenay has turned into a nightmare for one young B.C. family.
Sarah Warren was at Nakusp Beach on July 15 with her mom, aunt and her almost one-year-old daughter, RosieMay.
They were waiting for more family members to arrive when they saw some acquaintances walking their three dogs on leashes.
“We were just at the picnic, enjoying company, family, and the dogs came walking down the street,” Warren said.
“I have three (dogs) of my own so of course RosieMay wanted to go and say hi. We of course asked, and then we went and said hi to the two.”
There were two younger dogs and a third, older dog on a retractable leash.
Warren said her aunt was holding RosieMay and they were interacting with the two dogs when the third lunged forward.
“We were just saying hi and the other one just lunged at her face,” she said.
Her aunt pulled the baby back, and Warren said the dog was still growling and then it scratched her daughter’s face.
“It was a pretty vicious little attack,” she said, unable to hold back tears.
She said she grabbed her daughter right away.
“Her right cheek was just hanging,” she said. “It was nearly severed off. Just hanging by the littlest thread.”
The dog, a medium-sized Duck Toller, is old, Warren said, but she doesn’t know too much about its history.
She said she loves animals and would never want a dog put down, but worries now that the dog has bitten one child, it could happen again. The dog’s owner is also fighting putting the dog down.
“If one of my dogs did it, I would no question put my dog down,” Warren said. “I know it would be hard, but it would be the right thing to do.”
Warren’s mother, Lisa Ewings told Global News she doesn’t think the owner should even be able to make that decision.
“It could’ve been her throat, it could’ve been death instantly,” she said.
RosieMay has already undergone one reconstructive surgery, one plastic surgery, one blood transfusion and leech therapy to promote blood flow to the damaged tissue on her face.
She may soon be transported to BC Children’s Hospital, as some of the affected tissue is dying.
The family knows it will be a long road to recovery for RosieMay, and she will spend her first birthday in the hospital.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help the family with the financial burden.
“Luckily, she’s too small to really remember it,” Warren said. “And I don’t want this to affect her love for dogs.”
“It was the worst nightmare of my life.”
The dog’s owner told Global News the 11-year-old rescue was being walked by their father, who has dementia, when the incident happened.
The dog is being voluntarily euthanized on Monday, they said.