Nelson County sheriff releases statement after 18-month-old daughter attacked by family dog

Daughter suffered 'significant injuries'

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NELSON COUNTY, Va. – The Nelson County sheriff has released a statement in response to a public official questioning his actions after the sheriff's 18-month-old daughter was attacked by a family dog. 

According to the statement, Sheriff David Hill and his family were outside Sunday when the dog attacked the toddler. 

"The attack on our daughter was unwarranted," Hill said. "Although the attack happened within feet of accompanying adults, our daughter suffered significant injuries." 

In his statement, Hill says that the owner of the dog immediately asked that the dog be euthanized. Hill then says he "promptly euthanized the animal to prevent any further harm or attacks on anyone else." He did not specify the dog's breed in his statement. 

Hill then says he contacted county dispatch and requested animal control to respond, which then came to take the dog's body for testing. 

Hill's daughter was then taken to a hospital and received treatment for her injuries, according to the statement. 

"As a Sheriff, our personal lives are not always personal. I personally feel the importance of being transparent and when appropriate, disclose personal matters that may be of public concern," Hill said. "As your Sheriff, it is also important to educate and to let our community members know that we too face difficult moments."

The dog reportedly showed signs of aggression before the attack, attacking one of its owners twice despite the owners trying the proper training, according to Hill's statement. 

"Our daughter loved this animal, as his name was one of her first words," Hill said. "It is currently unknown how the incident will affect our daughter and her feelings towards dogs, but she will forever have visible scars/reminders of the incident as will I and our family."

In his statement, Hill urges animal owners to be extremely cautious when around an aggressive pet. 

"If your pets display aggression, please continue to do everything you can to protect your loved ones," Hill said. "When you feel like you and the animal are not making progress, seek help and use appropriate measures to prevent attacks like these from happening."

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