(KPTV) – She should be getting ready to take the stage at a national dance competition, but 11-year-old Olivia Payne can barely walk, days after she was brutally attacked by a dog with a vicious history.
The Gresham resident was visiting cousins in Silverton Saturday when the four kids went down to a nearby creek to play.
What happened next was a blur of teeth, blood and cold creek water.
“The dog just came running at us,” Olivia said. “We didn’t even see it at all before.”
Olivia said the dog ran behind her and latched onto her leg.
“I was in shock, so it didn’t hurt at all when the dog was shaking (her leg), but after, it hurt really, really bad,” Olivia said.
The dog then suddenly let go and ran off, Olivia said. Her older cousin grabbed her and picked her up, and that’s when they noticed the dog’s owner nearby.
“She’s like, ‘It’s just a puncture wound,’ – that’s what she said,” Olivia said, adding that the woman told her to put her leg in the creek.
Olivia’s mother, Katy Carroll, said her daughter’s leg was torn to the bone and required 11 stitches. Carroll said her daughter may need plastic surgery and could end up with some nerve damage.
“The wound was so bad when I saw it that I realized how much worse it could have been, if that wound had been in her neck or side, so I was really thankful she was alive,” Carroll said.
Silverton Police said the dog’s owner was nearby, but the dog was not on a leash when it lunged at the girl. Officers said they cited the woman, but allowed her to take her dog home and quarantine it herself.
Police Chief Jeff Fossholm said officers later learned from Marion County Dog Control that the dog has a history of biting people.
Dog Control said the large, MIXED TERRIER BREED bit two people in separate instances just weeks apart last year. One person suffered “significant” injuries in a park.
Community Services Director Tamra Goettsch, who oversees several departments, including Dog Control, said county officers were unable to seize the dog at the time because they were not able to find it. Goettsch said the dog's owner, Kimberly Ferrell, is sometimes a transient and has been difficult to track down in the past.
“I was so upset because it was completely preventable,” Carroll said of her reaction to learning of the dog’s vicious past. “How could someone be so irresponsible? It just totally broke my heart.”
Marion County Dog Control said officers seized the dog Tuesday and it is currently in quarantine at their facility.
Ferrell is expected to go through a hearing process that will determine whether the dog will be put down.
“I want to see the dog euthanized, and the owner held to the fullest extent of the law,” Carroll said.
FOX 12 attempted to reach Ferrell, but couldn’t get ahold of her.
For Olivia, the timing couldn’t be worse. The girl, who does jazz, hip-hop, ballet and other forms of dance, earned a slot in a national dance competition in Seaside next month. Now she’ll be cheering her teammates on from the sidelines.
“It makes me so sad because she worked so hard,” Carroll said.