TAMPA - An 8-year-old Tampa girl was released from the hospital Monday after being bitten by a family member's dog on Sunday.
Hillsborough County Animal Services says they are investigating the events of Sunday's attack before deciding what the future of the male, American Staffordshire Terrier will be. A neighbor who lives close to where the attack that occurred on Lancaster Lane says she knew there was a possibility the dog could hurt someone.
"He ran at me before," said the neighbor who didn't want to be identified. "I was coming out and he was walking up to me and started barking."
She says she even told the people who live in the home the day it happened they should keep an eye on the dog. She says days later, she heard the little girl had been hurt by the dog.
Shade Carter's mother tells ABC Action News her daughter did nothing to provoke the dog or excite him in anyway. She says she was even the one who pulled the dog off of her daughter when she saw him attacking her. She tells ABC Action News the dog had been a bit aggressive in the past, but that it was nothing they were overly concerned with.
Animal Services says even if it seems harmless, that's the time to reach out for help before its too late.
"There are a lot of behaviorists out there," says Ian Hallett. "People who train dogs and there are also a lot of websites out there and even behavior hotlines that a lot of non profits run to ask questions."
Hallett says often times those experts can stop a problem before it starts. He mentions the key is to take a proactive approach before the animals behavior becomes dangerous.
"Always keep them on a leash, certainly anytime you are outside your yard," says Hallett. "In fact, that's the law and its for reasons like this just to make sure because accidents can happen."
Hallett says the dogs future will depend on the results of the investigation and from there they have several routes they could take, but he would go into detail about what those might be.