PUNA, Hawaii (KHON2) — A six-year-old Big Island girl is recovering after a brutal attack by two dogs.
The little girl was saved by her 11-year-old sister. The mother of the girls is now calling for tougher penalties for dog attacks.
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Six-year-old Violet was walking home from school with her sisters in her Puna neighborhood when they said the dogs were were able to get out from the owner’s property through a gate left open.
“They told me that if the bite, if the tooth had gone even a millimeter higher, she would have lost her eye,” Violet’s mother Shalaye Newman said. “She got stitches on her face here, on her cheek. She also was told that if it had been an inch lower on her neck, should could’ve died.”
It was violet’s 11-year-old sister Layla who jumped to pull her little sister away from the dogs.
Both of them still have nightmares from that day.
Newman said, “She saved her life, if she wasn’t there, if she wasn’t brave enough to rush those dogs I wouldn’t have my baby.”
Puna Representative Greggor Ilagan’s office said he drafted a bill for next year’s legislative session to increase dog attack penalties.
The bill establishes a criminal offense “assault by a dog,” owners could face a class C felony offense, and the dog would be euthanized.
Currently, these attacks are misdemeanors. Honolulu County Police Department Major Aimee Wana, who oversees the animal control operation for the county said, increasing penalties could not hurt.
“We can only enforce the actual laws that are written, the way it are written,” Wana said. “We can’t go off script and go on because our hearts are bleeding because of the situation, which is very tragic often.”
Ilagan said they will be holding community town hall meetings in Puna to get community input on how to address issues related to dangerous dogs.
Until then, Violet is recovering at home in good spirits. Newman said she is proud of her young girls who looked out for one another.
“I asked her if she was scared of getting bit, and she said the only thing she was scared of was Violet getting more hurt,” Newman said. “That was the only thing, and she’s 11. Now Violet calls her her superhero, and she is. She is her superhero.”
The two dogs were euthanized while police continue investigating the case. It will soon be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office.
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The family set up a Go Fund Me account to help them with Violet’s medical bills, click here to help.