A West Middlesex woman has been cited for harboring a dangerous dog after her pit bull attacked a friend in her home Monday evening.

Dawn Parkinson, 29 North Street, owns 2-year-old Diesel, a brown and white pit bull now quarantined at Shenango Valley Animal Shelter.

Charges were filed by the dog warden and Southwest Mercer County Regional Police handled the call that night.

At about 5:15 p.m. Monday, the dog attacked Alissa Wasser, Sharpsville, when she was visiting the home. Police said she received bite injuries to her head, neck and ankle and was taken to UPMC Horizon, Farrell, and then UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, Pittsburgh, where she was kept overnight.

The dog started biting her pant leg after she arrived, Ms. Wasser said, and then bit into her ankle, tearing it open and exposing the underlying muscle. He then grabbed her by the neck and dragged her around the room, she said.

Ms. Wasser said she crawled onto the porch and began screaming for help while the owner was inside trying to control the dog.

Passing motorist Gina Smith stopped and cradled Ms. Wasser and held a towel to her head to help stop the bleeding until the ambulance arrived.

Police said Ms. Smith, who did not know the victim, acted heroically by placing herself in harm’s way to help.

Ms. Wasser said she has permanent nerve damage in her leg and several staples in her head from the mauling. She is also in a cast and on crutches with bite marks on her hand and shoulder from trying to defend herself.

The dog is being quarantined for 10 days at the shelter, Chief Warden Kathy Whiteman said, and if the owner does not take him back he will be euthanized.

“That dog will not be adopted out of this shelter,” she said.

If the owner signs the dog over for euthanization, Ms. Whiteman said the charge against her may be dropped.

Officials don’t feel the attack was provoked, Ms. Whiteman said.

Ms. Parkinson proved that Diesel is current on his vaccinations, Ms. Whiteman said, and the owners have been coming in and walking him.

Certain dogs are more aggressive, Ms. Whiteman said, not meaning the pit bull breed in particular, and the heat makes it worse. She said owners should take precautions and keep their dogs away from people they don’t know well.



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