Betty Matthews

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Woman Required Facial Reconstruction After Dog Attack

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

PARSONS, Tenn. -Betty Mathews, 66, said when a neighbor's dog attacked her it did not just change her face, it changed her entire outlook on animals.

"I ain't never seen a dog do like that before. I been around dogs my whole life!," Mathews said.

Saturday, Mathews said her dog was tied to a tree when a neighbors pit bull dog came and attacked him. Mathews said she did not want to break up the fight but needed to protect her dog.

"I got a bucket of water, threw it in their face and when I did that the little black dog made a dive for me and got me here and here," she said motioning to her right cheek and midsection.

The attack terrified Mathews so much, Parsons Police said she has been calling the police station.

"She's nervous, she's scared. (Another) little dog walked through her yard, it wasn't a pit bull or aggressive. It just cut through her yard. It scared her and she called 9-1-1 so I went out there," Investigator Joe Vaughn said.

Mathews was taken by ambulance to Decatur County General Hospital but her injuries were so severe she was later transferred to Vanderbilt. While hospitalized, she received cosmetic reconstructive surgery and more than 300 stitches.

Investigator Vaughn was the responding officer and said when he arrived on the scene, a hole in the side of Mathews cheek was exposing her teeth.

"They had to sew it back together and there were pieces missing," he said.

Jeremy Warn owns the dog involved in the attack. His family said their dog, Cole is a loving member of their family and has been for 14 years. They said their dog was tied up Saturday but broke free. They are being charged with allowing a vicious animal to run at large.

Investigator Vaughn suggested calling the police not taking matters into your own hands when dealing with animals. "We cannot authorize anyone to shoot a dog. But at the same time a property owner has the right to protect their property," he said.

Betty Mathews said her dog was injured following the fight and is staying with family members. She said as long as her neighbor's pit bull dog remains in close proximity she is worried for the safety of her neighborhood.

"I want them to do something about that dog! I am afraid it'll get a kid or someone else," she said.

The case has been turned over to the Decatur County Health Officials because the dog did not have current shot records. The animal is currently under quarantine for 10 days. Following the quarantine, a decision will be made whether to euthanize the dog.
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