PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - An 8-year-old girl was hospitalized Tuesday evening after she was attacked by a pair of pit bulls.
The incident happened late Tuesday afternoon on Mark Street NE near Plainfield Avenue and 4 Mile Road in Plainfield Township.
Paytan Wiersum's mother took her to an urgent care center where she was told to take Paytan to the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital because of the severity of her wounds.
Doctors told Paytan's family that she had more than a dozen bite wounds.
"It was a full-fledged dog attack," said Aaron Wiersum, Paytan's father. "They're serious wounds. They're serious bites."
The girl was treated for her injuries and released Wednesday.
After the incident, a Kent County Animal Control investigator was on the scene interviewing witnesses and the dogs' owner.
The dog that bit Paytan was placed under quarantine and the other dog was held at the animal shelter pending further investigation. Neither dog was licensed.
"When you live in a residential area, I don't see the purpose for having them," Aaron said of pit bulls.
Neighborhood Watch Captain Alice D'Agostino, who lives next door to the dogs' owner, said she agrees. She said she's filed several complaints regarding the dogs being loose and is frustrated that no action was taken sooner.
"Certain dogs are aggressive by nature and they don't belong in a neighborhood with small children -- ever," D'Agostino said. "They're gone now and I don't want them ever to come back."
D'Agostino was among the neighbors who responded after hearing the children's screams when the dogs approached them as they played in the front yard.
"It turned from yelling to absolute screams," D'Agostino said. "It all happened in a few minutes because somebody didn't put their vicious dog away like they should have."
"They're murderers," she said of the dogs. "They murdered the safety -- mental safety and emotional stability."
The dogs' owner Salvatore Pizzo said the animals were inside of his home, several doors down from the victim's house, when they somehow escaped. He said he wasn't sure how they got out because he was at work when the incident happened.
"He's very friendly dog," Pizzo said, identifying the dog believed to have bitten the girl as a 3-year-old pit bull named 'Lucky.' "I've never seen him hurt nobody before like that."
Pizzo admitted that the dogs had gotten out before, but said he'd taken precautions to make sure it didn't happen again. He added more fencing after learning that the dogs were able to jump over the fence as it was originally built.
"I don't think it was on purpose," Pizzo said of the attack. "I think it was an accident."
Lisa LaPlante, a spokesperson for Kent County Animal Control, said the agency has not received past complaints about the dogs in question.
D'Agostino said she called 911 dispatch to report her concerns and also voiced them to Plainfield Township officials. LaPlante said it's possible that those concerns were not communicated to animal control officials.
After getting stitches, Paytan was expected to be released from the hospital to continue her recovery.
After the investigation is complete, the case may be forwarded to prosecutors to consider criminal charges. Investigators have yet to decide whether the dogs will be returned to Pizzo, who described the attacking dog as his "best friend."
"I won't get over all the screams that I walked into... and all of them, just earth curdling screams," D'Agostino said. "I'll never forget it -- ever."
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