7-year-old Hardin Co. girl in critical condition after dog attack

SAVANNAH, Tenn. — Saturday morning, the family of 7-year-old Joslyn said she was playing in her front yard with her brother and mother when a stray dog that had been staying with the family for a few days suddenly attacked.

Savannah Dog AttackDirector of Animal Services for Hardin County Debbie Nowicki said the scene Saturday morning was among the most aggressive she’s ever seen. The girl’s mother and 13-year-old brother were also hurt in the attack.

The family had taken in the dog just days before and said there weren’t any signs of aggression.

“Usually with an aggressive dog, there’s some sort of indication before an event happens that would cause you to be cautious around a dog,” Nowicki said. “This particular dog, it’s my understanding, in the previous days, had shown no indication of aggression at all and had been described as a big sweetheart.”

That’s a description Joslyn’s aunt, Carline Gutherie, echoed.

“It could sit. It could roll. It could shake. You know, basic commands that somebody has worked with this dog,” Gutherie said. “It’s just awful. Horrific. Joslyn has received injuries to her shoulder,  buttocks, her forearm, her hand. It did some damage to the finger and the left leg.”

Family members said even though the outpouring of support has been overwhelming, they want to find whose dog is capable of mauling the little girl.

“With an animal that size, that strength, these dogs need to be registered,” Gutherie said. “They just need to be held responsible for their dog.”

While the owner could face charges in this incident, authorities said the entire situation is troubling.

“Someone spent a great deal of time training and nurturing this dog, and it causes me concern because I’d like to know, was this dog trained to be anything other than a good dog?” Nowicki said.

As of Monday night, family members said Joslyn was still in a Nashville hospital in critical condition.

Authorities said Joslyn’s brother and mother were treated for injuries and released from a local hospital this weekend. They say without her brother fighting the dog, things could have been much worse.

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