Neighbors pray, Gainesville plastic surgeon offers scar revision for girl attacked by dogs

The mother of the seven-year-old girl attacked by two dogs while playing in her yard of the Valwood neighborhood Tuesday night shared photos of the wounds suffered by her daughter on social media.

In response to a neighbor asking about the screams she heard on Dec. 15th, the mother commented, “That was my daughter. Tonight, I am watching her have nightmares and we are waiting for surgery tomorrow. She can’t move one arm and both legs. It was horrendous, the worst sight I’ve ever seen.”

According to Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Art Forgey, deputies and Alachua County Animal Services are still looking for the dogs and their owners.

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“The dogs from the attack have not been located and no owner has been either. We continue to assist Animal Services with locating the animals or their owner,” Forgey said.

Prayers have been pouring in through comments after the mother’s post.

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Greg Gaines of  Gainesville Plastic Surgery offered to help the girl whose body is covered in teeth marks and deep wounds.

Greg Gaines

“I am so sorry that you and your daughter are having to go through this. I am a neighbor and a Plastic Surgeon and I am happy to help as you all are recovering from this if you’d like. You are in good hands at Shands, and will be well taken care of there. As your daughter is recovering, you/she may be interested in scar revision or other procedures; I’m happy to do this for you as your neighbor if you’d like. You can contact me through private text above and I will give you my cell number. Our family is thinking of you and your daughter in surgery today, and will say a prayer for you tonight.,” Gaines commented.

“I’m posting these pictures out of desperation,” the girl’s mother commented and shared photos of the suspected dogs and the wounds they left on her daughter. “Keep your babies inside and be on the lookout. This is a pain I wish on no one. Please, find these dogs.”

Two days after the attack, the girl’s mother posted an update on a neighborhood group on social media, “My daughter woke up saying, “I want to walk!” You can tell she’s ready to get the IV out of her arm and go home.

“But when she tried, she still could not put any weight on her left leg. That’s the leg that had the most trauma. Physical therapy will hopefully be here around 9 a.m. I’m wondering if they’re going to want to have an MRI done on that leg. I would like to know if there’s any nerve or ligament damage.

“We continue to be surprised and wowed by the love and prayers we’ve been surrounded by,” she commented and shared a link to a GoFundMe account set up to cover medical expenses.

As of Dec. 18th the fund surpassed its goal raising $7,325 of the $5,000 goal.

According to Dr. Gaines, one of the problems with dog bite injuries is that they are by definition contaminated (with all of the germs in dog saliva).

“As a result, it’s usually not recommended to close them up nice and snug, the way we would an incision made in the operating room. Despite the fact that these wounds may be washed out well in the operating room, pointed dog teeth and puncture type wounds still tend to contaminate deeply such that, through the years, we have learned that these types of wounds are usually best closed with loosely spaced, interrupted suture techniques if they are closed at all (small, open puncture type wounds may be left open),” Dr. Gaines explained.

“While this approach is the safest for the dog bite victim with regard to short-term infection risks, it’s not usually the “prettiest” technique, and over time, scars closed this way may be somewhat thicker or wider, and may benefit from being cut out and closed more precisely, once the risk of infection has passed. When re-closing scars excised in this way, we can sometimes take advantage of naturally existing lines in the body where there is less tension across the skin (if the original laceration was aligned across an area of high tension). In those cases, techniques such as a “Z-plasty” or “W-plasty” can help the re-closure heal in a more flattened and invisible way. These are some of the things we can do, as Plastic Surgeons, to improve an unsatisfactory scar.

“Although we generally have to wait several months/up to a year after the original injury for the original scars to mature to the point that we can assess which would benefit from revision, these are the techniques that I am happy to make available to this little girl and her family as her neighbor, pro-bono.”

 Anyone with information about the dogs or the owners can contact Alachua County Animal Services Officer Chris Smith at 352-213-0973

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