LEWISTON — An 11-year-old girl was recovering at home Thursday, a day after she was bitten by a pit bull in Kennedy Park.
Police are investigating the attack that left the girl with bite wounds on and around her legs. The dog that bit her was later found and placed under quarantine.
Valerie Stringer said her 11-year-old granddaughter Chiya had moved to Lewiston from Massachusetts less than two weeks ago.
On Wednesday, she was in Kennedy Park at about 4 p.m. when the attack occurred.
A young girl had been walking two pit bulls with her mother nearby, Stringer said.
When the first dog lunged, the girl was unable to control it. The pit bull went right for Stringer's granddaughter.
"The dog just locked his jaw on her," Stringer said. "She dropped and covered her face up. She tried to play dead."
Even so, the dog tore a chunk of flesh from the girl's inner thigh, Stringer said. The second dog also lunged, but police said it appeared that dog didn't bite the girl.
Stringer and others eventually were able to free Chiya from the pit bulls. Witnesses later pointed out the woman and girl who had been walking the dogs, police said.
Chiya was taken to the hospital where 10 stitches were required to close the wound on her inner thigh.
"She's traumatized," said family friend Rene Reynor. "She doesn't want to go to the park anymore."
"She just wants to stay in the house," Stringer said.
Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout is investigating the attack. He said the woman and girl walking the dogs were not the owners. Strout was trying to track down the owner on Thursday.
Stringer, meanwhile, questioned the logic of letting a young, small girl handle a pair of pit bulls in a public place.
"Those are strong dogs," she said. "The park is for the kids. Why do you have to have those big dogs out there?"