Felicity Peden, a 2-year-old girl, was viciously mauled by four puppies in her family’s home. According to a report in The Daily Mail, the girl’s mom, Michele, who lives with her husband and their three other children, had adopted four Queensland Labrador puppies just three weeks earlier from a friend.
Severe, Traumatic Injuries
Michele Peden believes that the animals who were sent to a shelter for rehoming may have been suffering from littermate syndrome, which could cause behavioral issues when siblings are raised together. Felicity suffered deep gashes, scratches all over her face and chunks were taken off her ear. The puppies had mutilated her face, neck and upper body, her mother said. She received plastic surgery to save her ear, but most of it could not be recovered.
While her kidneys began to fail due to the trauma, the girl began to stabilize within the next few days. Thankfully, she did not suffer any lasting damage to her internal organs or neck, her mother said. In a bid to raise awareness and to stop this tragedy from happening to other families, Felicity’s parents have shared their story on social media, where it has since gone viral.
They have also launched a GoFundMe to raise money for Felicity’s mounting hospital bills, which could cost thousands of dollars. Due to her severe injuries, Felicity was flown to a specialist children’s hospital in Fresno. She will need many more surgeries in the future to repair the damage to her body, her mother said. After she turns seven, Felicity will undergo further plastic surgery on her face and have part of her rib removed to construct a new ear.
What is Littermate Syndrome?
Littermate syndrome rarely occurs in canine siblings who have been raised in the same household beyond the normal 10 weeks of age. As a result, a number of behavioral issues can surface while they try to display “pack behaviors.” This means they could turn instantly aggressive and violent toward each other or attack others. The pups also managed to get into the family’s chicken coop where they killed nine of their 15 chickens, Michele Peden said.
Felicity’s story is a tragic example of why parents would never be well advised to leave their young children with family dogs, regardless of how friendly or gentle they may seem. Children should always play with family dogs only under adult supervision. Dog owners should also remember that they could be held financially liable under California law if their pets attack others. Injured victims of dog attacks can seek compensation for their injuries, damages, and losses.