A family has been left devastated after a 7-year-old Louisiana girl was “viciously” mauled to death by a neighbor’s dog. Making matters worse, the pet’s owner had a shocking admission after the attack.
Sadie Davila, a 7-year-old Louisiana girl, was playing outside a family member’s house on a Friday evening at around 6:35 pm when terror struck. A dog, belonging to a neighbor about 150 yards from where Sadie was playing, “viciously” mauled the first-grader, according to arrest documents. Sadly, family members were helpless to stop the attack, even though they tried beating the animal with a cane, but the dog continued to maul the little girl.
Eventually, Sadie was taken to a local hospital, but it was too late. She was pronounced dead. According to medical staff, Sadie had suffered “numerous dog bites to her face and substantial damage to her skull” from the dog’s attack. East Baton Rouge Animal Control officers found and captured the dog, a pit bull, later that night. The animal was found to have blood around its face and mouth, and a “substantial” amount of blood was also reportedly found in the yard where Sadie had been playing.
East Baton Rouge Animal Control director Daniel Piatkiewicz said the pit bull, belonging to 20-year-old Erick Lopez, was taken into custody and euthanized the night of Sadie’s death. Lopez told police he was not home when the attack occurred, but that did not diminish his responsibility. If anything, it made it worse because Lopez’s yard did not have fences to contain the pit bull, according to a police report, and the pet owner admitted to regularly allowing the pit bull to roam around the neighborhood.
Erick Lopez was arrested following the deadly attack after investigators determined that the dog owner “failed to confine or restrain his dog, which unlawfully entered a neighboring property and attacked a 7-year-old female victim, causing her death.” Lopez was charged with negligent homicide and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison the day after Sadie Davila’s tragic death, according to East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.
Many spoke out about the tragedy, expressing their grief over the violent and completely unnecessary death of an innocent little girl, The Blaze reported. Of course, her parents were devasted.
“My baby. She is only 7 years old. My mini me. The light in my heart. Words don’t exist for what this feeling is. My family is shattered. Please pray for us. Pray they press charges on the dog’s owners & hold them responsible,” Sadie’s mother, Haley Anselmo, wrote on Facebook prior to learning of Lopez’s arrest.
“RIP my sweet Sadie Elizabeth, 7-years-old & taken from us in the most violent way,” the girl’s father, Mikey Davila, posted in an Instagram story, according to The Advocate. “The world is a cruel place. You were the light in my heart.”
Sadie was also mourned by those from Woodlawn Elementary school, who remembered the “blossoming” young girl as both “tenderhearted and kind” as well as “fierce and spunky” with “promise awaiting her.”
“Young Sadie was blossoming in the dawn of her life and education with so much promise awaiting her,” East Baton Rouge schools Superintendent Sito Narcisse said. “It is difficult to comprehend the enormous pain and remorse her family and friends are experiencing in the wake of this tragedy.”
“Sadie was fierce and spunky, but she was also tender hearted and kind,” Sadie’s first-grade teacher Grace Feucht said in a statement. “She brought energy and joy into my class every single time she stepped in the door. She was fearless and would sing her heart out in front of her classmates.”
Law enforcement officials also expressed their remorse over the heartbreaking tragedy following Sadie Davila’s unexpected death.
“This is an awful, heartbreaking tragedy. My heart goes out to this family, and they will remain in my prayers,” East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.
Sadly, this is far from the first attack of this kind. Instead, stories like this one often plague our news, and statistics explain why. While there are over 4.5 million people bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, one breed seems to stand out above the rest.
“Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research compiled by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal-cruelty prevention,” Time magazine reported.
Indeed, according to the national dog bite victim advocacy group DogsBite.org, of the 568 Americans killed by dogs between 2005 and 2020, pit bulls were reportedly responsible for 67% of those deaths. And, it’s not just “strangers” who are being attacked and killed. Just months before Sadie Davila’s death, two small children in Tennessee were mauled to death by the family’s two pit bulls, and their mother was attacked as well.
Even with these staggering statistics and terrifying stories of violent maulings, many still stand by the breed, proclaiming that the owners are the issue. In this case, that’s at least partially true since Erick Lopez didn’t have his pet properly confined, but the statistics also paint a grim picture regarding this beloved breed, and I’ll let them speak for themselves: 6% of the dog population is responsible for well over half of all attacks as well as deaths. That says all I need to know.