New Details Emerge About Oregon Girl Mauled by Dog
March 6, 2006, 10:50 AM CST
OREGON -- News 11 has learned more details about the 12-year-old Oregon girl who was mauled on her birthday by a dog. When it attacked Nicole Brown on February 28th at a friend's house on Lantern in Oregon, no adults were in the home. Young Nicole pulled herself onto an exercise machine, trying to escape the attack.
Nicole's mother and stepfather, Toni and Jay Sheets, say Nicole has always been a strong, athletic girl, but now she can't even walk -- and it's breaking their hearts. They tell News 11 Nicole has cuts and stitches all up and down her legs, and she's in a lot of pain both physically and mentally.
Toni and Jay say the attack left them shocked, and they know Nicole is in for a long recovery. She's in fair condition in St. Vincent Medical Center. Her mom says Nicole is in a lot of pain.
Nicole's mother also told News 11 that sitting by her daughter's hospital bed is painful and makes her want to cry. "There's nothing I can do," she added.
Nicole's stepfather said, "For something like this to happen to her is just sad. I'd never wish this on anybody."
Beyond the physcial scars, the attack keeps replaying in Nicole's mind, her mother said. "I don't want to go to bed because I keep thinking about the dog," recalled Toni Sheets about what her daughter has been saying the past couple of days. "Or I don't want to stay up because I keep seeing the dog or thinking of the dog."
Meanwhile, the owner of the dog, Dion Rivera, says he doesn't know why it went on a rampage. He said his dog has never done anything like that before, even with his own kids. "If I would have been there, I would have shot the dog myself," Dion said. "Like I said, it's a dog and I do love him, but a dog is a dog, and a person is a person."
Original reports indicated that a Pit Bull-Presa Canario mauled Nicole Brown. But the dog's owner told News 11 there's no pit bull in the dog. Rather, he says, it's an American Bulldog-Presa Canario mix.
Nicole's family and the owner of the dog said Nicole was at Rivera's house on her birthday. Rivera admitted there were no adults at home at the time. A 3-year-old child let the dog into the house, and it attacked Nicole in a lower level of the house. Although she was able to pull herself up onto an exercise machine, the dog kept attacking her lower body.
Rivera says, "I'm sorry this happened. If I could do it over, I would have never got [the dog]." He told News 11 the dog is "real protective." He said, "My kids are always with him. He's never bit or drew blood on anybody because I always said if I had a dog that did, I would put him to sleep."
Rivera has five children. His 10-year-old daughter Darrien is credited with saving Nicole's life because she jumped on the dog, bit the dog, and grabbed his jaws to help Nicole get away for a second or two.
"If this girl did not stop the dog in the first place, Nicole probably wouldn't be here today," Toni Sheets said.
"I really feel mad at [the dog] for doing a bad thing, and I feel sorry for her," Darrien said.
Rivera has contacted his homeowner's insurance company about his possible liability -- if any -- in this case. Meanwhile, Nicole Brown's parents have contacted an attorney, and are ready to review their legal options.
Nicole Brown, who weighs only 60 pounds, had the fight of her life against the 100 pound dog. The dog will be euthanized in about a week.
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