The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is taking steps to evict a tenant whose pit bull attacked a four-year-old girl. The incident occurred on May 20 at the Meadowbrook Apartments in South Austin, leaving the young girl, Sahirah, with injuries that required stitches and a bandage on her face as she recovers.
Sahirah’s grandmother, Makeba Lafleur-Davis, described her as a good-natured child who loves animals, despite the traumatic attack she endured. According to Lafleur-Davis, Sahirah was playing outside under her mother’s supervision when a woman walked by with a dog on a leash.
Sahirah’s mother, assuming her daughter’s affinity for dogs, asked if the dog was friendly and requested permission for Sahirah to pet it. The woman confirmed that the dog was indeed friendly, and Sahirah continued playing. However, when Sahirah approached the dog a second time, it suddenly attacked her. Disturbingly, the owner did not intervene to stop the attack or try to pull the dog away, according to Lafleur-Davis.
Sahirah’s mother screamed loudly, which scared the dog off her daughter. Sahirah was left lying on the ground, bleeding and unresponsive. She was immediately rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery for her injuries. To help with the medical expenses, the family has set up a GoFundMe campaign.
The Meadowbrook Apartments’ lease explicitly states that pets must be kept on a leash and cannot weigh more than 30 pounds. It also prohibits pit bulls and pit bull mixes from residing on the property. Consequently, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin has initiated eviction proceedings against the tenants who owned the pit bull, told Fox10phoenix.
Sahirah’s family expressed disappointment that the dog owner has not reached out to apologize. Lafleur-Davis emphasized the lack of humanity displayed by the owner, stressing that ten days had passed without any attempt at contact or apology.
The brother of the dog owner shared his perspective, stating that his sister was walking the dog at the time of the incident. He explained that Sahirah approached the dog from behind, triggering the attack. He expressed shock upon learning about the incident and claimed to have offered assistance with the family’s medical expenses, a claim the family denies.
HACA released a statement Austin on the incident, saying:
“The Housing Authority of the City of Austin was made aware of a recent incident that took place at one of its properties, Pathways at Meadowbrook Apartments, in which a pit bull dog attacked a four-year-old resident of the property. HACA is grateful that the child received prompt medical attention. We reached out to the child’s family and offered our assistance and hopes for her speedy recovery.
The attack occurred in the common area of the apartment complex. The pit bull was outdoors without a leash or restraint when the incident occurred.
In response to this incident, HACA management has initiated eviction proceedings against the tenant owners of the pit bull. Eviction is warranted given that the tenants were in violation of the terms of the lease and of HACA’s pet policies which explicitly prohibit both the possession of pit bull breeds and any animals weighing more than 30 pounds. The owners were also apparently in violation of a City of Austin ordinance which requires that dogs be kept on a leash and under control in all areas that are not designated as “off-leash.”