Around 6:35 p.m. on Friday, a pit bull “viciously” attacked Sadie Davila while the first-grader was playing outside a family member’s house, according to arrest documents. The dog belonged to a neighbor about 150 yards from where Sadie was playing. The yard did not have fences to contain the pit bull, according to the police report.
A family member attempted to stop the pit bull attack by beating the animal with a cane, but the dog continued to maul the young girl.
Sadie was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Medical staff at the hospital told investigators that the 7-year-old girl suffered “numerous dog bites to her face and substantial damage to her skull.”
“My baby. She is only 7 years old. My mini me. The light in my heart. Words don’t exist for what this feeling is. My family is shattered. Please pray for us. Pray they press charges on the dog’s owners & hold them responsible,” Sadie’s mother, Haley Anselmo, wrote on Facebook.
The Advocate reported that the girl’s father, Mikey Davila, posted an Instagram story that said, “RIP my sweet Sadie Elizabeth, 7-years-old & taken from us in the most violent way. The world is a cruel place. You were the light in my heart.”
Woodlawn Elementary remembered Sadie as a young girl “blossoming in the dawn of her life.”
East Baton Rouge schools Superintendent Sito Narcisse said, “Young Sadie was blossoming in the dawn of her life and education with so much promise awaiting her. It is difficult to comprehend the enormous pain and remorse her family and friends are experiencing in the wake of this tragedy.”
Sadie’s first-grade teacher Grace Feucht said in a statement, “Sadie was fierce and spunky, but she was also tender hearted and kind. She brought energy and joy into my class every single time she stepped in the door. She was fearless and would sing her heart out in front of her classmates.”
East Baton Rouge Animal Control officers found and captured the dog later that night. The pit bull had blood around its face and mouth, according to the affidavit. A “substantial” amount of blood was found in the yard where Sadie had been playing.
East Baton Rouge Animal Control director Daniel Piatkiewicz said the dog was euthanized on the night of Sadie’s death.
The dog’s owner, Erick Lopez, was arrested and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Saturday, according to East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks. He was charged with negligent homicide, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.
Lopez told police that he wasn’t home during the time of the dog attack and that he regularly allows the pit bull to roam around the neighborhood.
Investigators determined that Lopez “failed to confine or restrain his dog, which unlawfully entered a neighboring property and attacked a 7-year-old female victim, causing her death.”
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said, “This is an awful, heart-breaking tragedy. My heart goes out to this family, and they will remain in my prayers.”
[embedded content]Sheriff: 7-year-old girl dies after pit bull attack in Baton Rougewww.youtube.com
In October, two small children in Tennessee were mauled to death by the family’s two pit bulls. The mother of the children was also attacked by the pit bulls. She survived the dog attack, but needed medical attention at a local hospital.
There are over 4.5 million people bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Almost 1 in 5 people who are bitten by a dog require medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Between 2005 and 2020, there were 568 Americans killed by dogs, according to DogsBite.org – a national dog bite victim’s advocacy group. Of those fatalities by dogs, pit bulls were reportedly responsible for 67% of those deaths.
There were reportedly 26 fatal dog attacks in 2022.
Time magazine reported in 2014, “Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research compiled by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal-cruelty prevention.”