The 9-year-old Stafford County girl attacked by a dog while waiting for a school bus in September is doing “much better” nearly four months later, family members say.
Her mother, Edna Jones, said the Grafton Village Elementary fourth-grader, whose name is being withheld at the family’s request, is largely healed both in body and spirit, though some scars remain.
“She is doing better, much better than she was,” Jones said. “Everything healed up pretty well, so we’re just moving forward.”
The girl had been waiting for the school bus on Sept. 5 down the street from her Kendallwood Estates home when an 11-month-old pit bull terrier named Ricky jumped over the fence at a residence across the street and bit her arms, legs and back, according to the Stafford Sheriff’s Office.
Several neighbors had to pull the 50-pound dog off the girl, who was the only student using that bus stop.
She was treated at Mary Washington Hospital and returned to school within a few weeks, but Jones said it was close to a month before she was back to “full duty” physically.
Readers have contacted The Free Lance–Star seeking updates on her recovery.
Beyond the physical scarring, which Jones hopes will fade with time and growth, her daughter’s comfort level with dogs—including the Joneses’ own Labrador—pit bull mix, Zeus—is taking time to restore.
“For the most part, she’s OK around our dog, but if he starts to bark, it kind of sends her back to the day and time,” she said.
Ricky, owned by Sabina Wighington of Stafford County, was euthanized after a 10-day observation period for rabies. Wighington was charged with one count of owning a destructive dog at large, three counts of failing to obtain a dog license and two counts of owning dogs at large. She was found guilty of the three ownership charges and paid $436 in various fines and fees.
The Stafford public school system has since moved the bus stop down the street to the family’s home, at Jones’ request.
Barry Sudduth, director of transportation services, said school officials do “the best we can to get issues resolved as quickly as possible.”
Jones said she and her four sons put effort into making the holidays special for her daughter, and that she received many of the things she wanted.
Jones said the family will continue helping her rebuild her self-esteem, which was damaged by the scars left by the attack.
“I think she’s made good strides, but I think she has a lot further to go,” she said. “I want her to know, whether you have a scar or don’t, you are still beautiful. Because you are beautiful from the inside out, not the other way around.”