A toddler makes a tragic mistake she reaches into an cage at her family's Animal Sanctuary.
It's so critical that we observe small children around animals; even if that child had grown up around pets their entire lives, there's always a chance of a tragic accident. One family is still coping after their 2-year-old daughter lost part of her arm after a horrific animal attack. On July 23, Sophia Scraver is said to have reached inside of a cage containing a wolf-dog hybrid while at her grandmother's animal sanctuary. The little girl is said to have been reaching for the animal's collar. However, from that point, the police and the family have different versions of events.
The family initially believe the animal bit the child's arm clean off. However, Brenda Pearson, the child's grandmother and owner of the Howling Timbers Animal Sanctuary located in Muskego, Michigan, said she thought about the incident a bit more. That scenario did not make a whole lot of sense.
She now thinks that the animal and the child's quick movements during the attack may have resulted in Sophia getting her arm stuck at the elbow and subsequently ripped off.
However, authorities also have an issue concerning Brenda's right even to have her animals since she does not have active permits for every creature in her sanctuary. But she maintains this is because the city has been dragging their feet with her paperwork.
“No person should be allowed near those dogs,” conservation officer Anna Cullen said in the statement.
“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 continued.
Officers ended up removing three coyotes, six red foxes, two fans, and four eastern box turtles from her sanctuary. However, other non-native wildlife were allowed to remain on-site, including 47 of the illegal wolf-dog hybrids like the animal who attacked Sophia.
“The DNR is currently investigating the unlicensed facility,” said Steven Burton, assistant chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division.
“We want to make sure that anyone who comes into contact with these animals at this facility is safe and that all of the animals at the facility are being cared for properly.”
However, the family is contesting that version. Brenda posted:
“My granddaughter, Sophia, was involved in an incident at Howling Timbers in July. 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,” she wrote.
“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,” she continued.
“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. 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, probably 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 were bitten, hers would have looked the same,” Brenda reasoned.
“Initially, I reported it as a bite, but the more I thought about it, it didn’t make sense. If the animal bit an arm 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 wrongdoing on my part. I asked the CPS investigator if he seen any bite wounds in the pictures, and he stated that he did not,” she noted.
“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 every day.”
She also addressed in a separate post concerns that she had been running an illegal operation. Brenda explained that she was in the process of obtaining all her necessary permits when the incident took place, and she's now waiting for instructions from several organizations. She claims that she was led to believe that a few of her permits had already been granted, when in fact, they had not. She also provided proof that she had been working on correcting several applications within the last few months.
“She’s been applying for licenses with different departments but doesn’t follow through with the inspection process – she’s failed to complete all of her applications,” officer Anna replied.
“An application is not a permit.”
Brenda remains firm that everything she has done up to this point had been above board.
As for little Sophia, the child is doing well according to her family. They set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses and the purchase of a prosthesis for Sophia when she's ready. So far, the pages have raised over $8,000 of the campaign's $12,000 goal.
For more on this story, you can also view the video below.