A Flint, Michigan dog bite victim is asking why it took authorities so long to remove the dogs that attacked her.
Fifty-nine-year-old Karen Coleman lives next door to a neighbor who has five pit bulls. She would often walk past the dogs playing in the neighbor’s yard and never gave them a second thought because they did not look vicious and were contained at all times. However, that all changed on Sunday, September 24, when two of those dogs got out of the yard and attacked her as she was headed to church.
According to Coleman, the dogs came right at her, leaving her no time to get away or even think about what to do. One dog grabbed her by her front while the other attacked her at her back, leaving her to try and fight off both dogs at once while the animals came at her from different directions. She managed to hold off one dog while the second tried to drag her down the street. Fortunately, another neighbor heard her screams and ran over, grabbing a chair and hitting the dogs with it to get them to retreat.
Coleman ended up with more than 40 stitches to her face as a result of the dog attack, and she still may lose an eye due to the excessive damage to her facial area. Naturally, when she returned home from the hospital, she expected the two dangerous dogs to have been removed from her neighbor’s home and was stunned to discover both animals were still there.
For two days, Coleman lived in fear, with the vicious dogs still right next door. Finally, on Tuesday, officials from the Genesee County Animal Control came to take the dogs, which were surrendered by the owner. Coleman, however, and others in the community are now rightfully asking: what took so long?
Paul Wallace, Director of the Genesee County Animal Control, said the reach of his office is limited in cases like these. According to Wallace, his office is operating under dog law statutes that only give them two laws they can enforce: dogs running loose and dogs without a license. When a dog bite is reported to his agency, they go out to the home and the dog is put under quarantine for 10 days. It’s up to the victim and the dog owner to decide the animal’s fate, with the court sometimes stepping in. Wallace noted that in many places, the victim has to go to court and say the dog needs to be removed because it’s a danger to others.
In Coleman’s case, both dogs are expected to be euthanized, but she is still living with the fear and pain from what happened. Due to the devastation to her face as a result of the attack, she will also have to undergo more medical visits for the foreseeable future.