A 7-year-old Highland Township girl was hospitalized Thursday, Nov. 30, after two of her family's dogs attacked her.
According to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, the girl suffered deep bite wounds to her neck and trachea. She is in critical, but stable condition at the University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital. Her mother, 34, sustained a deep bite wound to her right arm while attempting to get the dogs off her daughter.
The parents, which take in rescue dogs, had a total of seven in their charge. The two involved in the attack had been with the family a few weeks and were from a humane society in Pennsylvania. Deputies said the girl was attacked after she opened the gate of an outdoor pen where the dogs were being kept.
Her 6-year-old brother saw the attack and ran into the house to get their mother. Oakland County Animal Control took custody of one of the dogs — which shows signs of being a WOLF HYBRID — that was involved in the attack. The other escaped under the pen's fence and is on the loose. The family also gave up two dogs that were not involved in the attack.
Ron Shankin, supervisor at Oakland County Animal Control, said live traps had been set out to capture the dog, which was described by its owner as possibly a SHEPHERD-HUSKY MIX with white fur. He isn't sure how the dog will react to people:
"Is this going to be the kind of dog that if approached it will run away? We don't know. It's not from here...who knows where it will go."
Shankin said the Oakland County Sheriff's Office sent a helicopter in the area Friday, Dec. 1, to search for signs of the dog. The dog in custody was assessed by a veterinarian. Based on its physical features, body size, length, coat, facial markings, and the howling sound it makes, the dog shows signs of being a wolf hybrid, Shankin said. "We are looking at doing a DNA test on the dog we have here," he said, adding that ownership of wolf hybrids is illegal in Michigan.
"You can't own a wolf hybrid in Michigan as of 2000. If you owned one before the law took effect you were grandfathered in."
Shankin won't know if the dog in custody is a wolf hybrid until after DNA tests are completed. "Just mere possession may be a problem. I don't know the consequences at this point. It would be something the prosecutors would have to review."
The other two dogs that were not involved in the attack will be evaluated and assessed.