Girl killed by pet dog

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A Merriwether Elementary School fourth-grader died Saturday from injuries she received from a family pet dog, officials said.

Kristen Lee Dutton: Fourth-grader at Merriweather Elementary was bit in the neck by a 98-pound Japanese Akita.   special
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Kristen Lee Dutton: Fourth-grader at Merriweather Elementary was bit in the neck by a 98-pound Japanese Akita.

Kristen Lee Dutton, 9, was walking the dog by herself Saturday when the attack took place, McCormick County Coroner Faye Puckett said.

"We're not sure what happened to make the dog attack," Puckett said. Family members said the family pet -- which they had had three weeks -- had shown no signs of aggression previously.

The dog, a 98-pound Japanese Akita that was a gift from the child's grandfather, was secured at the family home over the weekend, the coroner said.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control said Monday a test for rabies was negative.

The coroner said the girl was walking the dog alone near Modoc Shores on Saturday when the attack is believed to have happened. She was bitten in the neck, and was found by a family member and later pronounced dead at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Sandra Friar, a spokeswoman for Edgefield County schools confirmed Kristen was a fourth-grader at the school and said counselors were made available Monday.

A funeral is scheduled Wednesday at Posey Funeral Chapel, North Augusta.

State tests dogs

Public health authorities will euthanize the dog and test it for rabies as part of the effort to determine what prompted the attack, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control.

"That program is part of our Bureau of Environmental Health, which has responsibility for rabies programs in South Carolina," he said. "The only way to actually determine whether the disease exists is through brain tissue testing."

Such tests can typically be completed about 24 hours after the tissue is received, he said, and the results will be shared later this week with authorities involved in the case.

Rabies is very common across the state, and people who come in contact with infected animals undergo preventive immunizations every year, Berry said.

Rabies in dogs, he added, is quite rare compared to the vast majority of cases that occur in raccoons, foxes and other wild animals.

-- Rob Pavey, staff writer

Comments (42) Add comment
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exmedic
2
Points
exmedic 01/24/11 - 04:20 pm
0
0
Very sad, My heart goes out

Very sad, My heart goes out to the family.

sugarbutton
1629
Points
sugarbutton 01/24/11 - 10:25 am
0
0
This just hurts my heart.

This just hurts my heart. People tell me I'm overprotective of my 2 1/2 year old around our aging female Rottweiler, but I'm not going to turn my back. The dog is in house some of the time and behaves well with our little boy, but I'm not going to put 100% trust in my dog and swear that it won't bite. She hasn't but what if??????? I'm sure this little girl was petrified and I'm so sorry for the child and the family. God Bless You~

leftn2002
0
Points
leftn2002 01/24/11 - 10:26 am
0
0
I believe that Akitas were

I believe that Akitas were once bred to fight bears. They are extremely smart dogs, but they can be as unpredictable as a pit bull.

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 01/24/11 - 11:44 am
0
0
A little 9 yr old girl was

A little 9 yr old girl was killed by a dog. Does it really matter if there is a misprint?

Newsreader
11
Points
Newsreader 01/24/11 - 10:51 am
0
0
Woody, the story says the

Woody, the story says the girl was 9. Is there two misprints? Or could it be that the family has a place at Modoc Shores, but lives in the Merriweather community? The attack accured at the McCormick County location, but that does not mean that is the families full time residence.
It does not matter what type of dog, or what they have been bred for, all animals will attack if threatened, and there is no way of knowing what triggered this because there are no witnesses.

gmt
79
Points
gmt 01/24/11 - 10:59 am
0
0
Read obit: "her mother, Leah

Read obit:

"her mother, Leah A. Abercrombie, McCormick, SC; her father, Jonathan Derek Dutton, North Augusta; "

North Augusta address could be in Edgefield Co.

PWRSPD
0
Points
PWRSPD 01/24/11 - 10:59 am
0
0
One thing not unpredictable,

One thing not unpredictable, the uneducated pit bull haters will spew.

PWRSPD
0
Points
PWRSPD 01/24/11 - 11:01 am
0
0
And the AC will remove my

And the AC will remove my comments!

jones255
0
Points
jones255 01/24/11 - 11:08 am
0
0
Very sad. Thoughts and

Very sad. Thoughts and prayers to the family.

newsreader2
0
Points
newsreader2 01/24/11 - 11:08 am
0
0
This is sooo sad. my heart is

This is sooo sad. my heart is with the family and close friends. It doesn't matter if it's a misprint, what county it took place or anything else. all that matters is the family's tragic loss of their child. I coudn't even imagine. some times people say cruel things in times of greif. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family......

BennyS
0
Points
BennyS 01/24/11 - 11:29 am
0
0
May the lord be with this

May the lord be with this family in their time of need. I'm sure that the family dosn't really care about a misprint. Lets all pray for them.

dannyshiba
0
Points
dannyshiba 01/24/11 - 11:31 am
0
0
This is just heartbreaking.

This is just heartbreaking. Such a sweet little girl. Akitas can be very unpredictable. Many homeowners' policies won't cover you if you own one.

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 01/24/11 - 11:34 am
0
0
One of Gods tiny

One of Gods tiny angels...enjoy your wings Kristen!

getalife
6
Points
getalife 01/24/11 - 11:35 am
0
0
This is very sad. Prayers to

This is very sad. Prayers to the family. You can never predict what an animal will do, and yes, dogs are animals.

shadypines
7
Points
shadypines 01/24/11 - 11:49 am
0
0
This is absolutely

This is absolutely heartbreaking. My prayers go out to this little girl's family in their time of sorrow. I have been around dogs my whole life and have worked at animal shelters for the past several years, and the only dog I have ever seen that was truly, truly "vicious" was an adult male Akita that belonged to my former neighbor. That dog bit 3 neighbors, and tried to attack my husband twice before the owners had it put down. They are extremely unpredictable. Even moreso than pit bulls, because many times, they will attack with no warning (i.e. growls or barking). There is no telling what kind of life this dog had before he came to live with this family a few weeks ago, and we will never know what provoked the dog to attack.

dani
13
Points
dani 01/24/11 - 12:32 pm
0
0
I can't imagine this

I can't imagine this happening to my child. Horrors. I feel so bad for them (and for the dog).

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 01/24/11 - 12:37 pm
0
0
God Bless Her Soul.
Unpublished

God Bless Her Soul.

Jeffro
0
Points
Jeffro 01/24/11 - 12:55 pm
0
0
May God give peace and

May God give peace and comfort to the families during this time.
Very sad!

follower
173
Points
follower 01/24/11 - 01:41 pm
0
0
Uncalled for "Rather". A very

Uncalled for "Rather". A very inappropriate attempt at humor.

jdsgirl63
3826
Points
jdsgirl63 01/24/11 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Such a sad and tragic

Such a sad and tragic situation. My thoughts and prayers are with this precious child and her family.
Having bred Akita's, and have had one or more in our household for more than 28 years, up to this very day, I can say with confidence that it is not a vicious breed, but a strong breed that requires training and leadership from day one.
This family adopted an adult Akita and probably had little to no knowledge of this dogs history.
Now is not the time to demonize yet another dog breed that most have no firsthand knowledge of. But is the time to reach out to this family in their time of need. God be with them and give them comfort.

Austin Rhodes
3161
Points
Austin Rhodes 01/24/11 - 02:12 pm
0
0
The little girl was in fact

The little girl was in fact at a family property in McCormick Co...but was a legal resident of Edgefield Co.

We had originally been told this was a long time family pet, but it seems that report was wrong. Very odd how the media didn't get this info until two days after the fact, not that it matters, just that there was a LOT of bad information floating around about this.

Sweet Tooth
2
Points
Sweet Tooth 01/24/11 - 07:18 pm
0
0
Even after Michael Vick's

Even after Michael Vick's time in prison, NFL professional football players and coaches still refer to their games as "dogfights."

Beware of any unknown dog.

There is a reason for leash laws. Call animal control about any dog running loose, or any aggressive behavior by a fenced or leashed dog. Dogs are hunters,like coyotes and foxes, and need to be be controlled closely.

Sure, your border collie or lab is an exception. But how many maulings and killings by pit bulls and Akitas can be condoned by the dog lover community without taking on some responsibility?

iletuknow
7
Points
iletuknow 01/24/11 - 03:19 pm
0
0
This dog is bred for bear

This dog is bred for bear hunting and should have never been picked as a family pet especially with small children.

"This dog must only have an owner that understands the breed and has confidence in their training abilities to be able to keep this dog under control.

The Japanese Akita is definitely not the right breed for the average family looking for a pet dog."

missthepoint
0
Points
missthepoint 01/24/11 - 03:45 pm
0
0
I think some of you are

I think some of you are missing the point here. It doesn't matter how old she was , what kind of dog or where her family lives, the POINT is that a little girl lost her life. My heart goes out her family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

The reason that McCormick County Coroner was called is because the incident happend in McCormick County.

jazzlover04
2
Points
jazzlover04 01/24/11 - 05:22 pm
0
0
@Sweetooth, dog fights don't

@Sweetooth, dog fights don't have to be arranged to happen. Lets not act as if they never occur. So what if that is used as a reference, would you rather they use the term "war". I know I am off topic, but these Vick and dogfight references are so unoriginal now. My condolences go out to the family of this young girl.

dani
13
Points
dani 01/24/11 - 08:03 pm
0
0
The details does matter.

The details does matter. Knowing the facts might save the life of some other child/person.
Warnings should be issued to parents to "beware".

scottyshottie
0
Points
scottyshottie 01/24/11 - 11:19 pm
0
0
I am a friend of Kristen's

I am a friend of Kristen's mother, and I can say it doesnt matter about the facts surrounding what has happened, it sure as hell doesnt matter where they lived, Are you people serious!! The fact is there is a little girl dead, and a mother whose heart will forever be broken. Kristen loved the dog very much, it was her pet. I was told she walked the dog every day and even warmed his food up. The dog went missing over a week ago, and Kristens heart was broke. We all ask ourselves "what if" and I am sure her mother is doing the same thing. We cannot bring kristen back, but we can stop blaming, and getting the facts mixed up!! Most importantly PRAY. Our lives begin and end with Jesus and all we can do is put our faith in him, no matter how hard it may seem. Please dont down the family when they need to be lifted up more then anything. I love you Leah, and you are in my thoughts and prayers!

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 01/25/11 - 12:31 am
0
0
"Most importantly PRAY. Our

"Most importantly PRAY. Our lives begin and end with Jesus and all we can do is put our faith in him, no matter how hard it may seem"

Well said .....Amen.....

Clemson Engr in GA
0
Points
Clemson Engr in GA 01/25/11 - 01:41 am
0
0
This is a tragedy, but,

This is a tragedy, but, jdsgirl63, both the
CDC and Insurance Institute track dog
Attacks and fatalities. According to them:
Pit bull, Rottweiler, Akita or Chow cause the
vast majority of incidents. Most fatal dog
attacks are by pit bulls. In 2008, 65% of
the fatalities were by pit bulls.

Many home insurance companies will not
insure you home if you own one of these
Four animals. Almost all sites you research
Warn against unattended Children with
Akitas due to attacks without warning -
no growl or other outward signs of
aggression prior to attacks. And particularly
Warn against children being near an Akita
and their food.

I for one, will take the statistics of the
Insurance Institute and CDC (Center for
Disease Control) over an Akita breeder as
to the safety of my children from a bite or
attack. It may protect/guard your house,
but can just as easily attack a child or non-
Family member.

PetsArePeopleToo
0
Points
PetsArePeopleToo 01/25/11 - 02:20 am
0
0
My thoughts and prayers go

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family , I am so very sorry for your loss.
Last weekend my young nephew spent the night with me . I have a Rotti
that I have raised from 6 weeks old . He is now 9 years old. He is the best dog ever , very mild manner and not aggressive at all . I know his backround and know he is a big baby , but I still will not allow him to be around anyone else . I tried to explain to my 7 year old nephew that I
did not want him to pet him , because he has never been around "little people". I love my Rotti , but I would never trust him with anyone but myself . I agree with you Shadypines , the dogs past is unknown. God Bless the family .

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