The family of a young girl named Gracie, who was hospitalized after being attacked by a dog, are talking about the nightmare they experienced and the miracles that have happened since that tragic accident, November 24.
Gracie's grandfather, Ray Kaighn recalled how he was talking to his granddaughter in the basement of his home that Tuesday afternoon, when a relative's dog ran down the stairs, leaped into the air, landing on the girl and biting her face multiple times.
The dog then started attacking the 60-year-old as he tried to pull the animal away from his granddaughter's face. The three continued to struggle until the owner of the dog ran into the room, grabbed the animal around it's neck and pulled it away.
Even though he has tried to put it out of his mind, Kaighn said he can still hear his granddaughter's screams for help and seeing her face covered in blood, after the attack.
“I got off the floor and Gracie was standing there with her hands on her face,” said Kaighn. “There was blood all over and she was screaming and crying. I just couldn't believe what I saw. It was just the most horrific thing that I had ever seen in my life.”
“I ran over to her and took her in my arms and said, 'Come on Gracie we need to go upstairs.' and she said, 'Grandpa what happened? Why did he do that?'”
Gracie was taken by ambulance to Logan Regional Hospital with multiple lacerations to her face. The dog had also knocked three of her teeth out.
The dog, a five-year-old pit bull, belonged to a niece and nephew who were staying at the home temporarily. Kaighn said the dog had never acted aggressively before the attack.
“The dog was around children all the time as it was growing up. He was around the kids when he was here, for the month-and-a-week that he was here. Never once did we get any kind of an indication that he was a vicious killer.”
The dog was taken by animal control officers and placed in quarantine for 10-days. After determining that it did not have any diseases, the owners asked for it to be killed.
Gracie was released from the hospital days after the attack. She has undergone several surgeries to begin repairing her face and teeth. Through it all she has been upbeat and positive. Kaighn said she has even told the family she forgives the dog for what it did.
“She called the owner on the phone and he almost didn't have the fortitude to talk to her but he did. She said, 'Don't cry, everything is going to be alright. I don't blame you at all, don't feel sad.”
Friends of the family started a GoFundMe account to help cover medical expenses and have already raised over $8000. Kaighn said, since the attack, he has learned that pit bulls are responsible for more attacks than any other breed of dog. He hopes Gracie's story will bring to light the dangers of owning pit bulls.