In late June, a teenage girl sustained life-altering injuries from a family pit bull.
DogsBite.org - In late August, we were contacted by Nicole Baker (a pseudonym), 16-years old, who was attacked by a family pit bull and sustained devastating injuries. The dog latched onto her leg and tore out a large chunk of tissue, tendons and muscles, leaving a large, gaping hole in her leg. The attack occurred on June 26 at 10:26 am. At that time, her step-father Zach was home, along with her mother, who was upstairs, her two younger brothers and her grandfather.
The attack occurred days before her sweet sixteen birthday, Nicole said. The family pit bull had been living in the household for over a year. She said her family acquired the dog when it was 11 weeks old from a UKC breeder in Virginia, specifically Sudden Impact Kennel, which breeds American pit bull terriers and American bullies. Nicole has shared her chilling account of the brutal attack in her own words with us, along with photographs of the catastrophic injury to her lower leg.
hi my names nicole i’m 16 years old and i was attacked june 26th right before my sweet 16 i’m trying to get my story out…
june 26th i was attacked. there was a small propane torch leaking in my room, i was freaking out because me and my mom have always been afraid of that stuff, running out of my room, the nauseating smell of propane slapping me in the face, then i open the gate at the end of the stairs and heard the growl, the growl i knew wasn’t a playful growl, the look in his eyes that i’ve never seen before, as i quickly turned so he wouldn’t get my face or throat, i tried to get back up the stairs before he actually locked onto me but i couldn’t, he got my leg, the dog that’s been in the same house with me for more than a year just hanging off my leg, ripping, tearing parts of my leg that i didn’t even know could hurt, feeling his teeth graze my bone, watching zach sweating and stressing trying to get what we thought to be one of our protectors completely attack me, no one could have predicted this, it was extremely terrifying, so so painful in the moment but it’s still no one’s fault. sitting there on those stairs screaming “i’m fucked” over and over again, thinking in my head there goes my plans of getting my permit on my birthday, as i’m watching my blood cover the floor, walls, and doors, going through towel after towel soaked in my blood, muscle, tendons, etc., all i could think about is how did this just happen? why did this just happen? did i do something wrong? why me? but the other part of me was so thankful it didn’t happen to one of my little brothers. let’s say the ambulance just arrives, i’m still frantic, they’re all trying to calm me down but i can’t calm down i just can’t, they undo the belt zach put on to act as a tourniquet, then they did the actual tourniquet i remember the exact pinch i felt, that was the only feeling i had left at that point my leg was numb, i was in shock, but i felt that little pinch from the tourniquet. they couldn’t fit a stretcher at the place i was in the house, i knew i couldn’t walk my leg had a chunk gone out of it, i was scared so scared, i was scared to go in the transport chair, i was scared to bend my leg, i was scared of it all. finally i’m in the ambulance but wait why haven’t we left to the hospital yet? another 10 minutes and we’re still waiting the blood isn’t even under control, another 20 minutes 2 more ambulances show up i’m thinking what the hell is going on, i need to be seen, i need my leg fixed, why are we still waiting in my driveway? a paramedic comes in the ambulance i was in, still hyperventilating scared didn’t know what was gonna happen or what was going on, the paramedic puts two ivs in my arm, i bleed from one of them, just seeing more of my blood come out even just from a small iv made me want to lose it, i thought come on i’ve already lost enough haven’t i? ivs are done, they hook me up to fluids in one and then they were getting pain medicine ready, two doses of fentanyl they gave me, that made me even more nervous, that’s killed so many people, i looked at zach outside of the ambulance trying to make eye contact enough with him so he could see i was scared to have that medicine, it didn’t do much at all, it didn’t help the pain like they said it would it just made me feel shitty, so they gave me morphine next via iv that barely touched the pain, at this point we’re almost to glens falls hospital, i was scared to go there i didn’t think they’d be able to work on it, so we get to glens falls hospital, i get in a room, does vitals and everything, then comes in the doctor with a few nurses. when i tell you he picked up one piece of gauze didn’t even see the entire wound he set that piece of gauze down so quick and stepped back, looked at me and said you’re gonna have to go to albany, my heart dropped even though i was already expecting it, i didn’t really wanna hear it, i knew i was gonna need immediate surgery, i was so so scared, i had never had surgery, never put under or nothing, i was terrified, so the ambulance shows up to bring me to albany, that was just a shitty ride i was still in pain, nauseous, it felt like that driver just hit every pot hole they saw, definitely didn’t make the journey any better, finally at albany, i don’t remember much from the beginning honestly at albany, but i remember right before going into surgery, i was terrified, i had zach take my piercings out because i had to, i was so scared to not be with my mom and zach they had been by my side the entire time, all my piercings were out, i start to break down because it was getting closer and closer to go into surgery, they finally wheel me away from mamma, i was so scared the only thing i remember is being wheeled into the operating room then i just felt the tears getting heavier, i have no memory of anything after that, hours later i wake up all curled up in a ball with a blanket in a dark room by myself instant tears again, i didn’t know what was going on, i knew but i didn’t, i didn’t know where everyone was, i felt alone for the first time through this entire thing. to me what felt like a hour was probably only like 15 minutes i finally get wheeled out on the stretcher to see everyone, i was so scared and happy and just so full of all emotions, i was so happy to see everyone, my mamma my zachypoo, my sissy and, sethypoo were all waiting for me, all i cared about was how surgery went, within those hours after surgery i had talked to so many different doctors, groups of surgeons, and nurses i couldn’t tell any of them apart. after stuff finally calmed down i was attached to a stupid tube wound vac, in a room with my mamma, zach, sierra, and seth and everything just hits, my brain is going crazy thinking how did this happen, thinking how are we gonna afford all of this, psh the ambulance bill alone is over 2 thousand, what about the multiple surgeries i have to go through, not even that what about gas money for my mom and zach to get back and forth to see my brothers, how’s zach gonna get back and forth to work? but i can’t let them know i’m worrying about that stuff. time goes on the nights almost over everything’s becoming more and more real, the feeling in my stomach won’t go away, i can’t get the thought of it all out of my head. why me i keep wondering, how did this happen? it was like i didn’t know it was happening but at the same time it was all so real. - Nicole, August 24, 2022
When Nicole sits on the stairs screaming, "I’m fucked" over and over again, "thinking in my head there goes my plans of getting my permit on my birthday," you can see how the brain misfires when the body undergoes acute trauma. The brain cannot compute the severe damage while it shuts down vital functions to enter into survival mode. Also as she sits, "I'm watching my blood cover the floor, walls, and doors, going through towel after towel soaked in my blood," she said.
Nicole was in traumatic shock, heavily bleeding, most of her leg was numb, but she remembers "the exact pinch I felt," when emergency responders applied the tourniquet. "They undo the belt Zach put on to act as a tourniquet, then they did the actual tourniquet," she wrote. "I remember the exact pinch I felt, that was the only feeling I had left at that point my leg was numb." Amazingly, a team of doctors were able to save her lower leg. Amputations could be more common.
We have seen what Nicole describes next after many severe and fatal pit bull attacks. The first hospital is not equipped to treat the injury. The patient must be transferred to a Level 1 trauma center, in this case, located in Albany. "Then comes in the doctor with a few nurses. When I tell you he picked up one piece of gauze, didn’t even see the entire wound, he set that piece of gauze down so quick and stepped back, looked at me and said you’re gonna have to go to Albany."
This was a "mauling injury," not a "dog bite," which requires treatment at a trauma center. This doctor did not even see the entire wound.
Nicole said that she is currently starting physical therapy and that her wounds are almost closed. She still can't put much weight on that leg. She said that "some days are harder, some are easier" and that "each day's different." She added that she has made good progress. "I’ve come really far since the beginning," she wrote. Most of the time she has to keep her leg elevated, so her daily activities are limited. She said that doctors told her she will have to learn to walk again.
The attack was only two months ago. It's too soon for doctors to know how the next couple of years will go. However, doctors believe the pain will increase as her leg heals because of the inner damage to the muscles and tendons. Looking at her photographs, one can only imagine how intense that pain will be. Nicole said she also sustained severe nerve damage in her lower leg and her big toe is paralyzed. Nicole has suffered all of these physical horrors by the age of sixteen.
"Chunks" of Flesh
We recently wrote about the Tya Lucas attack. Her dominant arm was "more or less eaten off" by a family pit bull in May. She shares short videos of her recovery on her TikTok page. We wrote then, that a "family dog," an XL pit bull in her case, "ate her arm," consuming chunks of flesh. The pit bull in Nicole's home, "latched onto her leg and tore out a large chunk of tissue, tendons … leaving a large hole in her leg." She even felt the dog's teeth graze her lower leg bones.
We didn't ask Nicole what the scene looked like after the attack. But she did describe the scene while sitting on the staircase, saying that blood covered the "floor, walls and doors." We imagine the scene was as gruesome as the Lucas attack. Any citizen or law enforcement officer who did not know the scene was the aftermath of a "family dog attack," would assume that a violent crime or murder had taken place. Both acts, however, were perpetrated by a family pit bull.
Any dog breed that is known to suddenly attack a person unprovoked, as pit bulls historically are, -- by tearing off "chunks of flesh" muscle and tendons, and in the process "consuming" parts of it -- do not belong in any household. Nicole said that "no one could have predicted this." The dog had been living at her home for over a year. Lucas said that as her family pit bull ravaged and ate her arm, she screamed at the dog, "Hercules It's me!" But there was no recognition by the dog at all.
Over the 16-year period of 2005 through 2020, pit bulls killed 380 people. Just over half, 53%, of these victims were family or household members.
Sudden Impact Kennel
Sudden Impact Kennel appears to produce pit bulls with "sudden impact," of which pit bulls were already selectively bred for. There are two words involved, "sudden," as in a sudden unprovoked attack with little to no stimuli beforehand (Nicole had opened up the gate at the base of the stairs). The second word is "impact," as in a completely disproportionate response -- a severe mauling -- to minor stimuli. What better states "impact" than Nicole's injuries -- a catastrophic hole in her leg?
"Sudden impact" does not mean "sudden impact to intruders only." It could potentially involve anyone around the dog, including its owner and family members. Nicole states, "watching Zach sweating and stressing trying to get what we thought to be one of our protectors completely attack me." The alleged "protector" that suddenly turned into the family attacker, because the dog makes little to no distinction among its victims, a quality of being bred for explosive aggression.
Nicole's account of her attack is terrifying. From the brutal attack to her blood covering the floor and walls, to the two tourniquets being applied. From the ambulance lingering in the driveway for 30 minutes, to the two doses of fentanyl that made her feel "even more nervous." From the doctor who said, "send her to Albany," to the emergency surgery she was terrified of undergoing, and finally, to her trying to understand what "was happening but at the same time it was all so real."
Nicole has a long road ahead of her. The injuries she sustained are devastating. She is only 16-years old, yet will face a lifetime of permanent disfigurement. It is unknown how much function and feeling will return to her lower leg. We do know one thing. We have seen severe injuries like hers before, and after many surgery procedures, they heal remarkably. Medical advances move quickly too. There could be options available to her three years from now that aren't available today.
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