Marissa Velez with her chihuahua Lucy
Largo, Florida - It's a daily routine for Marissa Velez and her chihuahua Lucy. "I walk her around the block," says the 9-year-old.
But last Friday evening, that fun walk was anything but routine. That's when two big dogs came running at Lucy and Marissa tried to save her.
"I picked her up like that, so she wouldn't get attacked by the dogs," she says, holding Lucy above her head.
But Marissa paid a price for that bravery. Now at animal services, a pit bull named Latté did most of the damage. Latté bit Marissa several times on her arms and shoulders, before some neighbors managed to pull off the dog.
Marissa went to the hospital in an ambulance. "It was frightening to see her in the chair; she was bleeding," says Marissa's mother Mitzi Bostick.
Marissa and her family worried that the pit bull might be coming back to their neighborhood. "I like dogs," says Marissa, "But I don't think that dog is good as a pet."
However, it's now unlikely that Marissa will have to face the dog again. The paperwork is not yet complete, but Latté's owners have told animal services officials that they will surrender the dog. That means after the required 10-day rabies quarantine period, the pit bull will be euthanized. Latté's owners could not be reached today for comment.
"It's sad that an animal has to pay the price for careless dog owners," says Bostick. But she hopes by sharing Marissa's close call, other dog owners will think twice. "Be responsible; you want to own a dog, no matter if it's a Chihuahua to a Great Dane, be responsible."
Kathryn Bursch, 10 News