Pit Bull Attacks Councilman’s Daughter, 8; Child in Critical Condition

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

The 8-year-old daughter of a Newark, Delaware, Councilman was severely mauled by a Pit Bull on Saturday at the family's home in the Stafford Development.

Police were forced to shoot and kill the Pit Bull at the home of Councilman Todd Ruckle, ABC News reports, after the aggressive animal and critically wounded his 8-year-old daughter.

The younger daughter of Newark Councilman Todd Ruckle was in surgery Saturday night, seven hours.  The attack took place around 1 p.m. on Adelene Drive, according to Newark police, who said the victim and her 15-year-old sister were together in the room with the dog.

 The older sister is credited with saving the little girl’s life, as “she fought the dog off and called for help,” a County paramedic’s statement said, “She also helped control her sister’s bleeding until help arrived.”

The child was transported to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Rockland and later flown to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, New Castle County paramedics told DelewareOnLine.

The victim had sustained severe soft-tissue damage and blood loss, and her mother, Maria Ruckle, said in a Facebook post that her daughter’s injuries would require four to six hours of surgery with three different teams of surgeons. She was already in surgery at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night, her mother wrote.  At that time it was still unknown whether the little girl’s arm could be saved.

Police said that the dog would not allow the girls to escape from the room after the mauling.  After police arrived and were able to divert the animal’s attention, the victim’s sister carried her out. The Pit Bull’s behavior was so aggressive that paramedics were prevented from beginning immediate treatment and then it began to advance on a police officer, according to ABC News, so a Newark police officer shot and killed the dog.

Councilman Ruckle posted on his Facebook page that this was the hardest day of his life, although his daughter “is alive and will survive.”  He thanked supporters for their love and prayers for the family, DelewareOnline reported.

A statement issued by Newark officials on Sunday asked that the media and the public respect the privacy of the Ruckle family during this difficult time.

Family friend, Jerry Clifton, who was replaced on the Newark Council by Ruckle in April, told DelewareOnLine, the Pit Bull was staying at the Ruckle home in the Stafford development at the time of the attack, but the dog did not belong to the family.

Source: ABC, Delaware Online