Mom talks about daughter's dog attack

Thursday, January 26th 2006, 10:10 am
By: News On 6

Her 2-year-old daughter was mauled by a neighbor's pit bull.

The News on 6 was the first to tell you about the frightening attack Wednesday in the small town of Kansas, Oklahoma.

Thursday, for the first time, the girl's mother talked with News on 6 reporter Steve Berg at St Francis Hospital about what happened.

“It happened so fast." Stephanie Crittenden says she and her two daughters were at her cousin's... getting ready to go look at houses, because theirs was ruined in a fire a couple of weeks ago. In fact, a picture of Cianna as a baby is the only one she was able to save. But after that setback, an even worse tragedy was looming. "She ran towards the door, and I said Cianna baby, don't get dirty, we're going bye-bye."

While Stephanie was gathering up her 7-month-old, 2-year-old Cianna went next-door where the neighbor's dog, a pit bull mix, was chained to a tree. Stephanie says Cianna had lost her dog in the fire. "That's why she thought all dogs were good." Then Stephanie says she heard Cianna screaming. "That's when I saw my baby getting tossed and turned.”

Stephanie says she ran toward the dog and grabbed the chain. "And pulled the dog back and it still wouldn't let go of her, and you could smell the blood. And I stuck my hand in its mouth and started pulling back and finally he released her and she fell to the ground." Cianna had deep bites on her face, head, and neck, which reached her spinal cord.

Doctors thought she might have paralysis. "She proved them wrong, she's smiling, she's moving her arm."

Stephanie says she doesn't blame the dog's owners, but she also thinks they should have had it inside a fence. "Right now I've got mixed emotions, and I don't know if that's what I'm supposed to feel. I don't know what I want to feel." But she knows she's glad to still have her daughter. "And it happened so fast, but she's strong, she's really strong. She's our Cianna, our ladybug."

Stephanie made a point to thank all the well-wishers who have called and sent cards.

If you'd like to help, the firefighters from the town of Kansas have set up a fund at the local Arvest Bank in Kansas, Oklahoma.