The 14-month-old girl who was attacked Tuesday morning by three pit bull dogs has undergone reconstructive surgery and, according to her mother, has been released from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus Wednesday afternoon. "During the surgery doctors stitched her face along with her chin, her ear and behind her ear. She's doing pretty good and might get to go home today," Jones said of her daughter, Kahtauna Cook. Jones said she also was bitten by one of the dogs. She was treated for a bite to the face at Southern Ohio Medical Center before traveling to be with her daughter in Columbus. Jones said she, Roy Cook, who is her boyfriend and Kathauna's father, and Kahtauna had been staying at Cook's parent's house at 405 Campbell Ave., Portsmouth, with plans to soon move to Columbus. Douglas Bowling, Kahtauna's grandfather, is scheduled to appear in Portsmouth Municipal County today on charges of harboring vicious animals. According city ordinance, "No person shall harbor or keep any dog that bites or fiercely attacks any other person, such animal being at the time of such biting or attack upon any sidewalks, street, alley, public place or landing of the city, or in or upon any lot or premises in the city other than that occupied by the harborer or keeper of such animal." A violation of that ordinance is a minor misdemeanor. Wendy Payton, animal control officer with the Portsmouth City Health Department, quarantined the dogs for 10 days until a judge decides their fate. "I think those dogs should be put down," Jones said. "The oldest (7 years old) dog has bit several people, he's bit a couple of kids and has bit four or five adults. The other two dogs (2 years old and 8 months old) have never bitten anybody." Leslie Young, a sanitarian of the Portsmouth Health Department, the agency that records dog bit records, said the city has no record of a pit bull bite at Bowling's Campbell Avenue address. Jones said she is terrified of dogs but she didn't hesitate when it came to saving her baby. Payton had been laid off for four months because of budget cuts. She had only recently returned to her job when she responded to this incident. "We had to lay off our animal control officer for four months this year and hopefully we will never have to do that again," Health Commissioner Chris Smith said. "In some cases it can come down to life and death when it comes to certain animals. It's very important for us to have animal control." According to the Health Department, between April 1 and Aug. 1, 2011, there were 24 reported dog bites in the city. Officials with the Health Department say there were about that many during the same time period in 2010.
WAYNE ALLEN may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.