CLINTON — Chandler Ramirez didn’t think twice about jumping over the fence when he heard his little sister’s screams.
Makayla Craig, a small, 7-year-old girl, had gone over the fence just moments before on Sunday to retrieve her “rice-pack sock,” which she had been playing with on the trampoline with her brothers.
But in that moment, something happened that no one expected, least of all Makayla.
The neighbor’s Alaskan malamute attacked her, biting her face, shoulders, back and abdominal area.
“I was just screaming for help,” Makayla said.
Her 12-year-old brother, Chandler, heard the screams and jumped over the fence. When the dog saw Chandler, it took off.
“I didn’t hear him jump over the fence,” Makayla said. “I thought the owners had come out.”
Chandler then picked up his sister, whose face was covered with blood, and yelled to their 8-year-old brother, Christopher Craig, to get their mom, Andrea Craig.
“When I saw her, her face was covered in blood,” Andrea Craig said.
The owners of the dog came out and helped Chandler get Makayla to their front yard and to her mom.
Andrea Craig told Christopher to get her purse and shoes and the family headed to Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton.
On Monday, Makayla went to a plastic surgeon to have her face stitched up. Her lip had been partially ripped off.
The family still is in shock that something like this could happen. The dog had grown up next door with the Craig family, Andrea Craig said.
“If Chandler hadn’t jumped over the fence when he did, I don’t know if Makayla would be here now,” Andrea Craig said. “That dog was not going to stop.”
Andrea Craig said both of her sons are heroes in her eyes.
The Craig children said it was common for them to go into the neighbor’s yard to retrieve toys. They all like the dog. In the past when the went into the yard, the dog would sometimes pull on their shirt to have them stay and play, they said. They also have a golden retriever, Lucy.
Andrea Craig said her son, Chandler, has not let Makayla out of his sight since the attack. He wouldn’t leave the hospital when a neighbor came up to take the boys home. On Monday, the West Clinton sixth-grader rushed into the house to check on his little sister’s condition to make sure she was OK after he came home from school.
By law, hospitals have to report all dog bites to law enforcement, said Davis County Animal Services Director Clint Thacker.
Thacker said most people hesitate to report dog bites because they’re afraid their dog will have to be put down.
“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time, the dogs aren’t put down,” Thacker said.
Thacker said most of the time, dogs that bite are put on a 10-day quarantine at their home, which is state law. That means they cannot interact with others who do not live at the home for 10 days.
In this case, the Alaskan malamute has been put on a 10-day quarantine at the home, he said.
Thacker said children getting bitten by dogs is common because they are usually at face level with the dogs. As a dog gets older, it can lose its hearing or sight, and if surprised can attack a child.
Dog owners can face charges if a dog does attack, but only if the person who was attacked, or the guardians of that person, decide to press charges, Thacker said.