POSTED: Monday, February 22, 2010 - 11:12am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 10:07pm
Three-year-old mauled to death by family dog...
Marion County, Florida authorities said a family dog mauled to death a 3-year-old girl on Saturday.
The incident happened at 6540 NE 25th Ave. in Ocala at about 5:30 p.m.
Marion County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jenifer Fisher said breeder Lori Haaker was in her yard with her daughter, cleaning out the pen where the family keeps four dogs chained to trees.
Haaker has a sign at the entrance to her ranch promoting her business that reads: "Haaker's Dream Bulldog Ranch."
Investigators originally said that the dogs were pit bulls, but they have since said that they were actually American bulldogs.
Police said that Haaker had gone into her house and returned outside but didn't see her daughter. They said she told them that she started searching the property and found that her daughter had entered the pen and was being mauled by one of the dogs.
Fisher said the mother had to wrestle the child away from the dog and that it was difficult because the girl was wrapped in the dog's chain.
Rescue crews arrived but could not save the girl, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Animal Services was at the home Saturday night to seize the four dogs from the pen. Officials said they believe only one dog was responsible for the attack, but all of the animals were taken as a precaution.
Animal Services will investigate to determine which of the dogs should be deemed vicious.
An investigator was questioning the mother and father, as well as a renter who lives on the property. It's not clear whether the parents of the girl will face any charges.
There are four other children who live at the home, and the Department of Children and Families was called to investigate their welfare.