A 2 year-old girl from Michigan tragically had her arm ripped off after she reached into the cage of a wolfdog at an animal sanctuary that is owned by her grandmother.
Brenda Pearson, the founder of the Howling Timbers Animal Sanctuary in Muskegon, took to Facebook this week to recall the horrific incident that happened to her granddaughter, Sophia Scraver, back in July.
“My granddaughter, Sophia, was involved in an incident at Howling Timbers in July,” Pearson wrote. “Although, she had never shown interest in the animals behind the cages, instead preferring to be carried or attached at the hip, we believe she was interested in the shiny collar being worn by one of the wolf dogs. A wolf dog that was friendly, loved to be groomed and preferred human attention over treats. We believe she grabbed his collar and he pulled to get away. She then got her arm stuck in the fence at the elbow and lost her arm.”
‘After she was rushed to the hospital, I went back to the pen and picked up her little arm. I can still see it today,” the grandmother added. “Her little hand was still closed as if she was still grasping the collar. She had no bite wounds on her arm. She had one tiny cut on her wrist. I was bitten when I went into the pen probaby due to them being stressed from all the chaos. My leg turned black and blue from my knee to my toes. I had two puncture wounds. If she was bitten, hers would of looked the same.”
Though Pearson initially reported to authorities that her granddaughter had been bitten, she later questioned this.
“Initially, I reported it as a bite but the more I thought about it, it didn’t make sense,” she said. “If the animal bit an arm that was inside the pen, there would be bite wounds on the hand and lower part of the arm. If the animal bit the arm from the side, there would be a part of her arm missing. None of that was the case which led me to believe my first assumption was wrong. I was investigated by CPS who found no wrong doing on my part. I asked the CPS investigator if he seen any bite wounds in the pictures and he stated that he did not. I would of given both my arms to save hers but it doesn’t work that way so instead, I will cherish the special little girl that amazes us everyday.”
The Mirror reported that authorities announced last Friday that they had found 47 “illegal” wolfdogs at the facility, in addition to “six red foxes, three coyotes, four eastern box turtles and two fawns.” Authorities believe that illegal breeding was taking place at the facility.
“Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers led a joint investigation and served a search warrant Friday morning at Howling Timbers, an animal rehabilitation facility in Muskegon that is believed to be illegally breeding and housing animals, including ‘wolf dogs’ – a crossbreed between a wolf and dog (or another wolf dog) that is illegal in Michigan unless necessary permits are obtained,” the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in a statement.
Conservation Officer Anna Cullen added that “no person should be allowed near those dogs. It’s not fair to this child who lost an arm.”
“We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of anyone who may encounter any animal at Howling Timbers, including the health and safety of all the animals at the facility,” she said.