Family dog chews off girl's toes

Dec. 31, 2010 at 4:10 PM

JOLIET, Ill., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A dog that chewed the toes of an Illinois girl with spina bifida while she slept was behaving naturally, animal control officers say.

The animal, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever, will not be put to sleep, the Joliet Herald-News reported. The 10-year-old girl had a sore on her foot doctors had been trying unsuccessfully to treat for a year, her parents said.

Experts "determined that the dog was acting true to its nature by removing the wound from the victim as it would in the wild," Will County Animal Control said in a report Tuesday.

People with spina bifida have almost no feeling in their lower bodies, so the girl, who lives with her parents in Crete, only realized she was injured when she woke on Dec. 22 and saw her left foot was bloody.

Her mother discovered the toes were missing.

The dog was in the habit of sleeping at the foot of her bed.

Sheriff's deputies observed the dog, which did not behave aggressively to them.

The girl was treated at St. Margaret Mercy Hospital in Dyer, Ind.

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