Sunday was supposed to be a day with family for 2-year-old Dionne Howard, but she spent it in the hospital instead.
The girl’s family had driven to her great-grandmother’s house in Normandy, Missouri, for a Christmas party, according to Fox2. Donte Howard, Dionne’s father, told the TV station that there was a dog near their car when they got to the house — and he “shook a coat at the dog to scare it away.”
It took just “about 10 seconds” for the dog to attack, Donte Howard told KSDK5. It then ran away after leaping at his daughter’s face and biting it.
Now, Dionne’s family wants to locate that dog — and have it euthanized, as reported by Fox2. Donte Howard had a message for whomever owns the dog.
“I would hope that they come forward, or someone that knows that dog,” he told Fox2, “so that we can put that dog down because that dog does not deserve to be on the streets whatsoever.”
Donte Howard told KSDK5 that “he believes this particular dog was trained to be aggressive.” The attack caused a large gash in Dionne’s cheeks, police say, leaving a portion of skin detached. She was treated at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, which she left on Christmas Day.
The Normandy Police Department wrote on its Facebook page that the dog is believed to be a pit bull or white boxer mix. The post also includes graphic images of the girl’s injuries.
“Anyone with information about a dog matching this description is encouraged to call Normandy Police at 314-385-3300 ext. 3173,” police wrote.
So far, police say their search for the alleged “aggressive” dog has turned up empty, KMOV4 reported.
“We’ve exhausted all of our leads with all the registered animals we have on file and none of the animals in the city to date match the animal that’s described as attacking this child,” Sgt. Tameika Sanders told KMOV4.
Donte Howard told KSDK5 that “the doctor did a pretty good job of putting (his daughter’s detached skin) back on” — but she will likely need plastic surgery in the future.
Still, the father told Fox2 that he is in awe of how his daughter handled the frightening situation.
“She has been a true trooper,” Donte Howard told Fox2. “I’ve been breaking down, it seems, like about every other hour.”