WAXHAW, NC (WBTV) - Two pit bulls attacked and killed a young girl and severely injured her grandmother in Union County Wednesday morning.
According to the Waxhaw Police Department, five-year-old Makayla Woodard and her grandmother, 67-year-old Nancy Presson, were attacked by the dogs just after 11:00 a.m. at 325 Rehobeth Road, which is not far from downtown Waxhaw.
Presson was hurt while trying to get the dogs off Makayla, police said.
Makayla and Presson were transported to Carolinas Medical Center-Union in Monroe where the girl died a short time later from her injuries.
Presson was under sedation and listed in stable condition in the hospital's emergency department as of Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Person's daughter, who is Makayla's mother, said Wednesday night that her mother's injuries were severe, but that she would survive them.
Makayla's mother also said that she was upset that the media had called the dogs vicious, even though the dogs killed her daughter. She said they had always been friendly up until Wednesday's attack.
Amy Plyler, who is a family member, said the girl was attacked while trying to get into a fenced-in yard adjacent to her home.
Makayla was mauled by a pit bull named Rebel which Plyler said "tended to wander the street."
"I don't know if Makayla even saw them coming," she said.
Investigators said Rebel was immediately killed by authorities. The other dog was on the loose for a short time, but was later fatally shot by authorities.
Both dogs were owned by neighbor Michael Gordon. Waxhaw police say they had just gone to Gordon's house around Christmas and warned him about restraining his dogs.
A man who lives nearby on Sweetbay Court said he heard a woman's scream around 11:10 a.m.
Scott Bland was in his driveway trying to clear snow and ice so he could go to work.
"She was screaming non-stop, she would catch her breath--there were no words, just screams," said Bland who called 911. "It was like a horror film, just high-pitch squeals, a woman's voice, the screaming just got worse."
Bland says when he spoke with a 911 operator, they had already received other calls concerning the attack.
"It was a little bit unnerving to know the pit bull dogs were running around the neighborhood," Bland said. "This is a perfect example of why people should not allow these dogs to run loose."
Waxhaw has a leash law which says that bans dog owners from letting their dogs run loose.
It appears Gordon will be charged with violating the leash law, but Waxhaw police chief Michael Eiss says more charges than that could be coming.
Eiss says his department has been in contact with the Union County District Attorney's office about the case, which is still officially under investigation.