Baby girl bitten by pit bull in Nepean

CFRA News Staff

A 14-month-old Nepean girl, named Cali, is in hospital in stable condition after she was severely bitten by a pit bull.

CTV News has spoken to neighbours who say the family was watching the dog for a few days to try and rehabilitate it. The dog reportedly had a history of violence and had bitten the original owner's child before.

The family watching the dog is said to be friends with the owner.

Ottawa Paramedics were called to Draffin Court, near Baseline and Centrepointe, just after 9 a.m. Sunday.

They said the girl was badly cut. According to some reports, the girl's nose was completely bitten off. However, that is not clear, as she was in surgery Sunday afternoon.

Paramedics told CTV News, they could not definitively say whether the baby would have lifelong breathing problems. They said she may suffer long-term physical injury and scarring, as well as emotional trauma.

Neighbour Beatrice Mushanga said, "My kids were at the window watching, and the called me 'mommy! mommy! Come see what happened. We are hearing the one-year-old is attacked."

Mushanga said the girl was trying to pat the dog when she was bitten.

Mushanga told CTV News, "she (the little girl) tried to put her arms up for me to pick her up it was so sad, I was crying... it was so hard because she had her nose all wrapped, blood gushing out, it was unbearable."

The dog was seized by Ottawa Police who are continuing to investigate, along with Ottawa By-Law officers.

The child's parents could face a fine. Reports say they could also face jail-time, although Ottawa Police have not confirmed the penalties under the by-law.

The Ontario government made it illegal to own, import or breed American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers or any similar breed as of 2005.

People who owned the dogs prior to the ban could keep their animals, but have to muzzle them in public and also ensure they're neutered or spayed.

The law also gives judges the right to put down the animals, as they see fit, in the case of an attack.

City officials told CFRA they had no knowledge the black pit bull posed any threat.

"We don't have a record - at least at this point - we don't have a record of any complaints about those bites so from our perspective, we wouldn't have known that the dog was vicious," said Councillor Mark Taylor, the Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee.

Taylor said it is up to the public to report any dog that poses a threat.

"Whether it's a pit bull or a dog of any other kind or an animal of any other kind, if you have a negative interaction with an animal, report it," he said. "Report it to the city so that we can start documenting and try to reduce incidents where there's unfortunate events like this."

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