Michigan girl, 7, in critical condition after family's 'rescue dogs' rip into her neck

HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP, MICH. - A seven-year-old girl was fighting for her life Friday but expected to survive after she was attacked by dogs that her family rescued from an animal shelter where they'd faced being euthanized, police said.

The attack in Highland Township occurred Thursday afternoon when the girl opened a gate to the dogs' pen and two of the seven canines they were keeping knocked her down, then began biting her in the neck and head, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The girl’s 6-year-old brother saw the attack and ran indoors to fetch their mother, who rushed in and wrestled the dogs away, receiving a deep bite herself in one arm, according to a news release. The dogs inflicted deep bite wounds to the girl's neck and she was struggling to breathe when paramedics arrived, transporting her to Providence Park Hospital after which she was airlifted to the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, the release said.

"Physicians determined that the child’s most severe injury was to her neck and to her trachea; she is currently in critical but stable condition and is expected to recover," Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said in the release.

Oakland County Animal Control took custody of one of the dogs, but the other escaped under a fence and was still loose on Friday, police said.  

"Animal Control placed a dog trap on the property with the anticipation of catching the second dog," McCabe said.

 The attack comes at a time when dog bites are increasing in Michigan, with insurance claims up 25% in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The family had been keeping seven "rescue dogs" in a pen outside the house, aiming to care for them until new owners could be found, he said. The two dogs that attacked had come from a humane society in Pennsylvania, the family told investigators. Family members signed over four of the others to the custody of Animal Control.

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