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One Child Killed, Another Loses Fingers in Separate Dog Attacks

March 3, 1989

Undated (AP) _ A 5-year-old Michigan child was killed by neighborhood dogs in a mauling so grisly a doctor likened it to a shark attack, and a Florida infant had four fingers chewed off by the family pet.

The body of the Ishpeming, Mich., child was discovered by neighbors outside the family’s home.

″It appears she had been chewed upon, right down to the bone,″ said Sgt. Greg Tait of the Michigan State Police. ″Based on what the doctor saw, he says it resembles a shark attack.″

Tait said residents pointed out two of three neighborhood dogs suspected in the attack, and officers killed the animals, identified as a huskie and a German shepherd. Police were searching for the third dog Thursday afternoon, he said.

The child’s name was withheld until her parents were notified, Tait said.

″People let their dogs run loose during the day and there have been as many as 25 in a pack,″ said Annie Trudell, whose store is across the street from where the attack took place. ″People don’t understand how quickly a family pet can become vicious.″

In Ocala, Fla., a mixed-breed puppy gnawed four fingers off a 22-day-old girl’s right hand.

The 7-week-old dog was described as three-quarters pit bull and one-quarter husky.

Shaye Lynne Emminger was in fair condition at Munroe Regional Medical Center following the attack Wednesday morning. Her four fingers were recovered from the puppy’s stomach, but doctors could not reattach them, said Jennifer Fanzlaw of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

The child’s parents, Michael Douglas Emminger, 19, and Deborah Lawson Emminger, 16, awoke to find their child bleeding profusely in her crib, Fanzlaw said. She said the dog also was in the crib.

The dog was taken to the pound and killed.

Investigators said they don’t know what prompted the puppy to bite the child, but they don’t believe the dog attacked her viciously, adding that the child might have had milk or formula on her fingers.

″All puppies chew,″ Fanzlaw said.

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