The 6-year-old girl attacked by a family pit bull last week was taken off of life support and died after she went into an irreversible vegetative state, according to Anchorage police and the girl's family.
Isis Krieger was fatally injured in the attack while playing with Dozer in her East Anchorage mobile home last Tuesday. The dog bit her neck, breaking it and ultimately leaving her brain dead, said the girl's great-grandmother, Wanda Injasoulian.
"I'm sick," said Injasoulian, who learned Isis had been taken off life support Monday afternoon. "I'm completely, totally devastated, and the thing that hurts me most is that I wasn't there when she went to Heaven."
Isis underwent surgery at Alaska Native Medical Center the day of the attack, then was placed on life support, Injasoulian said. The girl's father was deployed to Iraq, and the family waited for him to return before taking her off the machines.
Medical officials declared her legally dead Thursday, according to police spokeswoman Anita Shell.
At the time of the attack, Isis was in the care of a baby sitter, next-door neighbor Kristine Smith, 20, whom the dog also attacked. Smith was bitten on the arm.
Smith's roommate, Troy Danforth, shot and wounded the dog. Dozer was killed last Wednesday after being surrendered to Anchorage Animal Care and Control.
Shell said police were not expecting to file charges in the case.
"It wasn't anything criminal on anybody's part. The dog lunged at the girl, and tragic circumstances resulted," she said. "The 20-year-old, on all appearances, was taking good care of the two children that were there. There was no malice or anything done on her part to cause the dog to do this."
Isis' 2-year-old sister was not injured in the attack and Smith was treated and released. The kids were playing with Dozer and two other dogs when the attacked occurred.
Injasoulian said she faults animal control for not impounding the dogs when she reported them in the past, and also Isis' mother, Jessica Krieger, 24, for not getting rid of Dozer even after he attacked another family dog and even bit Krieger.
"The dog is just aggressive," Injasoulian said. "I knew that sooner or later something was going to happen. It was inevitable."
In a phone message left for a reporter this weekend, a woman who identified herself as Krieger said Injasoulian's claims were inaccurate.
"I'm not going to defend the dog in any way, shape or form for what he did to my child, but at the same time, my grandmother is not around my children enough to know exactly what is going on," she said.
Krieger could not be reached for comment Monday.
A second attack involving a Labrador/pit bull mix took place in Anchorage over the weekend. In that case, a 6-year-old boy was taken to the hospital Sunday for puncture wounds on his arm and hand after a neighbor's dog attacked in Government Hill. Though the investigation was continuing Monday, the child's parents said they didn't want the dog killed, animal control spokesman Scott Gower said.
Animal control gets about 500 animal bites per year, Gower said, though he wasn't sure how many of those were attributed to pit bulls. Gower maintains that pit bulls are not a bad breed when handled and trained properly despite the second attack in a week's time.
"Pit bulls can make wonderful pets. They're no more likely to bite than many other dogs," Gower said. "This is definitely a very tragic situation and you hate to see this kind of thing happen. ... This isn't something that anyone expects."
Animal control has said it can't seize pets from homes without a court order.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in September 2000, nearly a third of fatal dog attacks nationally between 1979 and 1998 were at the jaws of pit bulls or pit bull mixes.
Shell said that, although pit bulls are bred for fighting, it is rare for a pet to kill a family member.
"They can be aggressive, that's for certain. But not all of them. It's how you raise your dog," Shell said. "I'm sure there's pit bulls out there that are just sweet and loving and good animals, but if you get a bad one, then you certainly need to watch them, especially around children."
Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.
By JAMES HALPIN