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October 18, 2002 - North Shore girls survive vicious dog attack

What started out as innocent child's play turned into a near fatal incident when two children were attacked by a dog in Alpine Meadows.One girl was in serious condition with multiple bites around her torso and was airlifted to Reno last week while the other girl was taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital. Though the girls are recovering, the fate of the dog remains unknown.

Nine-year old Allyssa Hilker went over to her friend Marylou Warner's house in Alpine Meadows after school to play. The fourth-graders headed down to Bear Creek to a tree house when they spotted a dog they had never seen before -- a 120-pound, 10-month-old Rottweiler, Allyssa said Wednesday. The dog started fighting with Marylou's puppy, a yellow Lab named Vanilla. Then all of a sudden, the Rottweiler pounced on Allyssa, firmly clamping its teeth around her back, and dragged her into the creek, shaking her like a rag doll.

Allyssa doesn't recall exactly what happened next, but she does remember the screams of her friend. Three construction workers who were working nearby also heard the cries and rushed to the girls, pulling the dog off of Allyssa. Brad Krommenhoek and Brian Schneider, who work for Krommenhoek Masonry, kicked and sat on the dog. But the dog was not finished. When the men got off the dog, it jumped up and bit Marylou on the leg. After that, the men had had enough. After a few more kicks and punches, they tied the dog up in Marylou's garage.

North Tahoe Fire Protection District medics found Allyssa crying but remarkably calm for a child.Allyssa had significant wounds to her mid-chest area, under her arm, and around her back. In addition to chunks of skin missing, Hopwood was concerned that the lining surrounding her lung could have possibly been punctured. She was airlifted to Washoe Medical Center in Reno.Allyssa had more than 40 puncture wounds, in addition to scrapes and bruises, and had to have 50 stitches. Surgery was performed to clean out the lacerations and she was released the following day.Marylou had a single bite to her thigh and was taken to Tahoe Forest where she received five stitches.

Placer County Animal Control took custody of the Rottweiler, but it took 24 hours to find the dog's owner. Watterworth said the owner, whose name was not released, was apologetic and offered help. According to Watterworth, the owner normally keeps the dog locked inside but that morning it somehow got out.

Animal Control is holding the dog for a 10-day quarantine period as mandated by state law. The agency does not plan to release the dog. If the owner decides to claim the dog, the agency is looking into filing vicious animal charges against him. In that case, a court will decide the fate of the dog. If the owner voluntarily gives up the dog, it will be euthanized. According to Animal Control Officer Peter Krengel, no crime was committed so no charges are presently being filed against the owner.

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