Dog Attack Victim Identified

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Shawnee County Sheriff's Office Friday identified the little girl fatally mauled by a dog.

She is two-year-old Savannah Edwards.

Her obituary posted by Penwell-Gabel says a memorial service is set for 2:00 p.m. Monday at Saint John's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Those living near the home at 5831 Southeast Cross say they rarely saw the six-year-old male pit bull led off by animal control Thursday - soon after it fatally mauled the girl.

Shawnee County Sheriff's Officials say Savannah and her mother were visiting a relative who rents the home when the attack occurred.

One neighbor said that as far as she knew, the dog owner is a nice man with a nice dog.

Ruth Courville is new to the neighborhood and said she didn't know the man who lived there very well but she's always had amiable interactions with him.

"I only seen [the dog] the one time and the dog just layed there, never did anything, was never aggressive, never barked. I don't go near pit bulls, but never had any problems with this one," Courville said.

Other neighbors who didn't want to appear on camera said the owner did warn them that the dog would attack other dogs if given the chance.

A woman living next door said after Thursday's incident, Savannah's mother ran to her house for help. The neighbor said when she rushed next door to the home, the child was lying face-down by a love seat, a pool of blood on the floor.

Neighbors say the dog owner has a young child of his own, an infant, who does not live permanently in the residence.

Officers at the scene Thursday said the dog was from a rescue shelter, but Helping Hands Humane Society officials say so far they have no record of the animal ever being at their facility.

A local trainer with 25 years of experience, Mose Hugghis, says this sort of thing could happen with any breed.

"Sometimes you need to know the health of the dog, if it's not feeling good, if it's not active around other kids," he said. "Putting the dog in that situation can be harmful sometimes. But in this situation here, it could be any breed."

Ruth Courville says it was very sad to see the girl in the ambulance.

"I prayed," she said. "She's in Jesus' hands now."