Two pit bulls mauled girl in Taney County
Amanda Prichard could barely lift her wounded arms. Her body had been bloodied from a battle that nearly killed her.
On Friday, July 21, Amanda was walking down a gravel road in Taney County, as she had done countless times, to see if her best friend was home. Although her buddy wasn't there, the family's two dogs were, but they weren't on their chains, and before Amanda even reached the yard, the dogs bolted for her.
"As they were running at me, I was really panicked, and as they were attacking, I thought 'Oh great. Hopefully, this isn't the end,' " explained Amanda about a week after the attack.
She punched, poked, scratched, and whacked the animals with all the vigor the 11-year-old girl could muster.
"I tried to push," Amanda recalled. "I was trying to jab their eyes--go for the weaker parts. Kind of like hit them, kick them, but they just don't let go."
She even played dead, but it didn't work. "I was, kind of like, beginning to feel hopeless because no one was hearing me."
A neighbor finally did hear Amanda's screams and raced to her side. Even though weakness had settled in, Amanda recalled the thoughts that whirled through her mind when her rescuer wrenched the animals off her; she said, "I thought 'Oh, thank you. Please help me.' "
Amanda was rushed to a Springfield hospital for surgery. Word of the mauling had reached her mother, who waited anxiously in the emergency room. "I could lose my daughter, and that's a scary thought," Kristie Bates recollected.
After five hours, the surgeon had stitched, stapled, or sutured 48 different wounds inflicted on Amanda's body; her skull bore the brunt of the injuries. It didn't fracture, but the doctor told Bates it was close. "You could see the teeth indention in her skull from how hard they bit her," explained Bates.
Amanda finally made it home after five days in the hospital, and she tries not to relive the nightmare, but it's a challenge. "They were big dogs," she said. "They were pit bulls."
She was no stranger to the animals, she said, "They would let me pet them sometimes."
Amanda is sharing her ordeal in the hopes that owners take more responsibility for their dogs. "Have either stronger chains or have something to keep them in the yard to make sure they don't get out."
It's a sentiment her mom -- who said she didn't know the animals that attacked her daughter were aggressive -- echoes. Owners of vicious dogs, Bates believes, should have a double safety measure in place such as two fences.
"They are great animals, and they can be the sweetest things, but lions and tigers can be as well," Bates said. "But the moment that that's triggered within them, they're dangerous because they're powerful and these animals are powerful. They're so strong."
Strong is also a word that can be used to describe Amanda; she said, "I was just doing what I could to try and live."
The Taney County Health Department confirmed the dogs, which Animal Control officers euthanized with the owner's consent, were pit bulls.
Although Branson has a leash law, Taney County does not. There have been 56 dog bites reported in the county in 2017 to date. The following figures represent the number of dog bite quarantines by breed in the county:
Pit Bull 14
German Shepherd 4
Shih Tzu 2
American Eskimo 1
Cocker Spaniel 1
Border Collie 1
Great Dane 1
The health department's role is to investigate rabies and provide bite victims with post-exposure prophylaxis if it's deemed necessary, according to Lisa Marshall, Taney County Health Department community outreach division manager.
The agency does not track when or if dog bite victims require surgery or hospital stays; therefore, it's unknown if the aforementioned bites reported this year resulted in cases similar to the level of medical care Amanda needed.
While the young girl is out of the hospital, she will require long-term physical therapy to regain mobility in her arms. Her mother said the family has medical insurance, but the policy has a cap, and Bates is concerned the expenses will surpass her coverage. She is hoping the state will step in to assist. In the meantime, Bates' sister set up a GoFundMe page to support "Amanda's Medical Fund."
As of Monday night, the fundraising website (https://www.gofundme.com/amandasfamilyfunds) had raised $8,810 in donations from well-wishers around the world.