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

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Cadence
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Cadence 01/25/11 - 06:36 am
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This story is just so sad and

This story is just so sad and I feel terrible for everyone involved. It's probably not the time to say this, but I will, it isn't the fault of the dog. This is not an evil creature; it was just acting like the animal it was. However, that does not take away from the terrible loss this family has experienced. If it is true that the little brother found his sister, then I hope he is getting massive support and counseling. My prayers to the family are all I have to offer. It feels like so little.

joyce
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joyce 01/25/11 - 07:55 am
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Thank You

Thank You "Missthepoint"....You said it all and I agree. God Bless the Child and her Family.

baseballmom3
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baseballmom3 01/25/11 - 10:02 am
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It was so nice to see Sunday

It was so nice to see Sunday night the community on both sides of the river coming together for the family on Extreme Home makeover. Let's come together for this family in their time of need. Why not the community when something like this happens put up pink ribbons for a week in Kristen's honor. Let her family know even though we can't change what has happened we all feel their pain and love them. We have had so much crime around here lately and I believe crime is contageous as well as good things. Let's let this past Sunday night be a start to building a new community on both sides of the river. A community of ONE. When we can let's help our neighbors repair a roof, fix a walkway, leave groceries on the porch of someone struggling and when their is tragedy of a child let's hang a ribbon in their honor. Our world is such a mess right now. We saw what love can do last Sunday night, let's not stop loving each other because the cameras are gone. Let's show the world we are a community of one and maybe it will become contageous.

mistydawn
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mistydawn 01/25/11 - 10:59 am
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My heart goes out to the

My heart goes out to the family. Parents and grandparents should not outllive their children. Such a tragic accident- my prayers are with you and may the love of God that passes all understanding be with you throughout this time, and may His love surround you and hold you tight.

dianne53
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dianne53 01/25/11 - 11:49 am
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This saddens my heart deeply.

This saddens my heart deeply. My heart goes out to the family. I am sure the grandfather is disstraught !!! You never know what a dog is gonna do. Please let this be a lesson learned to everyone that has dogs. Always be aware that dogs do bite. Be especially aware of one that can overpower you. Kristen is one of God's angels now.

Boogaloo
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Boogaloo 01/25/11 - 12:07 pm
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It is always heartbreaking

It is always heartbreaking when a little soul is called away much too soon.

As to the poster who has a big dog inside their house and wants a small child to not pet it for fear of what might happen, all I can say is you might just as well leave a loaded gun on the table and ask him not to touch it.

Mcycleman1
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Mcycleman1 01/25/11 - 12:15 pm
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Dear Lord, comfort this

Dear Lord, comfort this family during this confusing time of loss. Grant them a bounty of pleasant memories of Kristen to help lift them through the days of grief. Surround them with friends to help carry them through. Thank you Lord.

therealghostwhisper
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therealghostwhisper 01/25/11 - 12:39 pm
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This is a tragic situation,

This is a tragic situation, one that will never forgotten by family and friends, let alone by the many people that read the story.. I ask God to walk hand in hand with this family during this time,We never know when God sees fit to take us home..as for this beautiful, precious little girl... God has given her wings, and a place of beauty to live, Forget about the wrong stories, the truth hardly ever is told right away, and we may never know what happened for sure, one thing we do know for sure, her family needs our love and prayers, now is not a time, and there may never be a time that anybody knows what caused this to happen.. Remember now is a time to comfort and stand by the family.. May God Bless the family and friends of this precious little angel..

stairway2nowhere
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stairway2nowhere 01/25/11 - 01:30 pm
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really no point in stating

really no point in stating what an akita was originally bred for because pitbulls were not bred to be pets either...there were bred for their aggression and brute strength..

momck2
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momck2 01/25/11 - 02:26 pm
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I would also like to add that

I would also like to add that not only were Akita's bred to hunt bears they were also used to watch the children. I owned an Akita years ago. We got her when she was 2 yrs old, my son was 2 years old. She was a wonderful dog. the only time she was aggressive was with other dogs. And that is a trait with Akita's Something had to happen for that dog to turn on her. Sometimes these things happen the important thing here is to support her family and be there for them during this tragic time. nobody needs to be pointing fingers the family I'm sure feels bad enough as it is.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 01/25/11 - 03:09 pm
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earlier post>> "...I'm

earlier post>> "...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."

It only takes 1 bite, 1 time. I don't believe you're on top of the situation 100% of the time your dog is around your child. 99% maybe. If you're watching for something to happen, why even be in that situation? You're playing with a child's life, for what?

Doyougetitnow
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Doyougetitnow 01/25/11 - 08:24 pm
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patriot; quick correction,

patriot; quick correction, it's a Rhodesian Ridgeback that my wife was referring to, & yes we're on top of both of them 100% of the time when they're together. I trained dogs for lots of years & know what those 42 teeth can do. I also know what she won't do; bite without provocation. It's called "controlled agression" for a reason. Will we let the boy get between her & food... no. Will we let him pull her tail or hit her... no. A lot of it goes to training, both the dog & the child. I know dogs, my wife knows children, between the two we have it covered. We're not playing with a childs life, we're raising a child with a broader experience of life. Humans are not the only animals on this planet, learn to co-exhist. More on topic, this story is about a tragic event & our prayers & condolences go out to the family. Kristen will be missed.

moonlighter6
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moonlighter6 01/26/11 - 01:01 am
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RE: "scottyshottie, Monday,
Unpublished

RE: "scottyshottie, Monday, Jan. 24 10:19 PM" Bless you for sharing your comments, hopefully all will read them.

Hearts for Animals
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Hearts for Animals 06/22/11 - 11:08 pm
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Things like this as sad and

Things like this as sad and horrifying as it is...is to do one thing...teach us all that dogs are not to be left unsupervised with a child..PERIOD. Even a dog as small as a Jack Russell can kill your child. When a dog is approached by an animal it doesn't know it will become protective,if the dog becomes agitated or anxious with another animal present and the child is nearby...it will without realizing who it is attacking...attack whoever is near..and if that is a child..who is small and on it's on level...will attack to kill...a dog in a frenzy...is fighting for survival or in defense of....and as for the rabies exam....nonsense....that's just an excuse to kill the dog..when children are left alone with dogs...they pull and yank on leashes..sometimes kicking or yelling at the dog when they think no one is looking....children have to be supervised...that sweet little angel...and I know...I have grandchildren...acts very differently behind your back. I do however feel very sad for the family..they may never know what prompted the dog to attack...but it's just a warning for them and the rest of us....dogs look at children as their equal...a dog is far stronger than even a man...a child has no chance at all. I love dogs and my grandchildren love and respect them and their strength...but are never left alone with them.

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