Pit bulls rip out 6-year-old girl's tongue in attack

MGN Online
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CINCINNATI, Ohio (CBS) -- Two pit bulls were killed after they ripped out a 6-year-old girl's tongue in a vicious attack, CBS Cleveland reports.

Roughly eleven days ago, Zainabou Drame was slammed to the sidewalk by the dogs who then tore at her face. The dogs severed her tongue before they were killed by Cincinnati Police officers who responded to the scene.

The little girl had been outside playing with some kids in the neighborhood the day of the attack.

"She came into the house to get a drink and cool off," Leslie McElrath Jr., her grandfather, told Cincinnati.com. "She told my daughter she was going to stay inside. Then a little girl knocked on the door and asked if Zaina could come out and play. Out she went. Then it happened. Two big pit bulls got out from a broken fence up the street."

McElrath continued on by describing the gruesome attack that his granddaughter endured.

"The pit bulls got Zaina because she was the smallest of the kids, like the jackals do with the herds on 'Wild Kingdom,'" he said. "One dog grabbed her face and literally tore it off. The other one pulled her mouth off. That hurt her tear duct. They've fixed that, and they reattached her face. (The dogs) broke her jaw, too. The doctors worked on that. They repaired her chin and changed the trach tube in her esophagus."

There is still blood stained on the concrete sidewalk where the attack took place.

The dogs belonged to Zontae Irby, who lived a few doors down from the little girl. The 24-year-old was arrested on weapon, drug and receiving stolen property charges once police searched his home. No charges have been filed yet from the attack. However, he was indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury Friday with trafficking in marijuana, possession of marijuana and receiving stolen property when a stolen gun was found in the home. All charges are felonies.

"I didn't know the guy who lived there," McElrath shared. "Never knew his name. Only knew him to wave to. I never saw the bigger of the two pit bulls until that day when he was laying up against a wall, dead."

McElrath explained that his faith is helping him keep his composure and not seek revenge.

"I am a man of the scriptures," he said. "The angry man does not achieve the righteousness of God." That's why he has "already forgiven the man who owns the dogs."

"What happened to Zaina is not about dividing people, attacking someone, putting someone in jail, banning pit bulls or killing dogs," McElrath said. "This is an opportunity to come together to show the city how much people care, to help heal a little girl."

Drame is in a medically induced coma and is listed in critical condition at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Doctors notified her family that she could be facing a four-year series of reconstructive surgeries because of her injuries.

"They may be able to reattach her tongue someday," he said, "or grow a new one. You can't believe the stuff modern medicine does," he said.

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