By Rebecca Drew
THIS BRAVE little girl was left with a fractured skull and nine-inch laceration on her head after being ‘scalped’ in a dog attack.
Customer service representative Tierney Dumont (27), from Miamisburg, Ohio, USA, was at home on July 28, 2018, whilst her daughter, Savannah (10), went to play outside with her friend who lived on the next street over.
Tierney knew that the friend’s family had a new dog but was unaware of the breed at the time, and nothing could have prepared her for the events that unfolded. Savannah’s friend took the Pitbull dog out into the yard on a lead but as soon as it set eyes on Savannah, it immediately grabbed her on the back of the head and attacked her.
By the time Tierney got to the scene, paramedics were already on their way and Savannah was dripping in blood and had her head wrapped in a towel. Savannah sustained nine lacerations to her head – one of which was nine inches long – as well as a skull fracture, three lacerations to her right ear, two lacerations to her right hand and a puncture wound through her palm.
The courageous Savannah was taken to a children’s hospital where she spent five hours in surgery to fix the lacerations to her head and hand. She also had to have her beautiful hair shaved off so that drains could be placed in her head as a result of surgery. Savannah was given a blood transfusion to replace the blood she had lost in the attack. After a week in hospital, Savannah was discharged on August 2.
Tierney is so proud of Savannah and how she has been so strong throughout her ordeal which could have been fatal. She is still receiving treatment now in the form of nerve blocking injections to ease the debilitating headaches and nerve pain she still lives with today.
Before the attack, Savannah was the bubbliest little girl in the room and loved being outside but the hardest thing for Tierney and her partner, Nathan (37), to witness was the lasting psychological impact the attack has had on their daughter who now suffers from PTSD, anxiety and depression. She has worked incredibly hard on overcoming this.
“The moment I found out Savannah was attacked I was horrified. We see these attacks all the time in the news, but you never think it will happen to your child or someone you know,” said Tierney.
“I was so scared for her and wanted to take away all her pain. I knew things were bad and just knew we had to get her to the hospital.
“I felt sick to my stomach. I was in complete shock as I stood there and looked at my child completely covered in blood.
“Savannah was wearing a little white t-shirt that day and I remember it being soaked in blood, and blood dripping down to her new Adidas trainers that we had bought the previous month for her birthday. For some reason, those two images still stick in my head.
“Savannah had nine lacerations to her head, one being nine inches long, which is where she was completely scalped. She had three lacerations to her right ear, two lacerations to her right hand and a puncture wound through the palm of her right hand.
“She suffered a skull fracture and had to have a blood transfusion. She ended up needing a blood transfusion due to loss of blood.
“The night of the accident Savannah spent five hours in surgery. Savannah has severe nerve damage in her head that causes excruciating pain and headaches. She gets nerve block injections every six weeks, and is on two medications to manage her headaches and nerve pain.
“Some days truly are hard but watching Savannah fight and keep pushing keeps us all going. Savannah always has a smile on her face and is never willing to give up. She has this bright bubbly glow about her that can light up a room no matter what. She truly works hard in everything she does and that’s what keeps us all going.
“Unfortunately it has deeply changed our family forever. Not only did it affect Savannah physical but the mental stance it took on her really shook us. Savannah never wanted to go outside afterwards unless me or her dad were right by her side.
“If we were going to go somewhere outside we had to call ahead and ask if dogs were allowed and that would determine if Savannah wanted to go or not. Even taking a walk in our neighbourhood we had to be super cautious.
“Savannah has worked very hard on her mental health and is doing a lot better but even still to this day it has put a deep burden on our whole family.
“She still has days where she just wants to cry. Sometimes, she sees a specific dog and it brings her right back into the moment it happened and it’s a full panic attack.
“Those are really hard to watch as a parent, and then when your child is in pain and you’ve done all you can do but nothing is working. It’s just heart-breaking.”
The dog that attacked Savannah was put down and Tierney is now fighting to have a bill passed in Savannah’s name which would make an unprovoked dog attack a fifth-degree felony.
Tierney has shared Savannah’s story on Instagram through which she has been able to connect with other families who have been through a similar ordeal.
“Savannah has adjusted as best as you could imagine. We take it one day at a time and try not to plan too far ahead. We have our good days and our bad days. But she is a fighter, after every procedure and every poke we make it known that she is a warrior,” said Tierney.
“Sharing our story on social media has been a good release for me as her mum as I have had other parents reach out to me with the same stories which is so nice to be able to relate and talk to someone else who has gone through something similar.
“I have received so much support.
“Right now, if your dog attacks someone in our state it is only a minor misdemeanour ticket. This is a one-hundred-and-twenty-dollar fine – no other punishments. I personally think that’s not enough. So, we are working on a bill which is called ‘Savannah’s law’ which if your dog attacks someone unprovoked, would make it a fifth-degree felony.
“This would result in higher fines and possible jail time depending on the injuries. Savannah has been at the state house to testify in front of the law makers every step of the way. Unfortunately, things were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic but we can’t wait to hit the ground running again when we are able to.
“The message I want to convey is that dog attacks are a problem, and they unfortunately happen far too often. Savannah was one of three children admitted to the hospital that night for a dog attack.
“I want them to see how much of a fighter my little Savannah is and although something horrible happened to her we are hoping for something amazing to come out of it.”