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Pit Bull Mauls 9-Year-Old Palm Coast Girl In Incident Similar to Attack on Pizza Man

| November 6, 2018

Chopper, the pit bull involved in Sunday's attack on a girl on Powder Horn Drive in Palm Coast. (Humane Society)

Chopper, the pit bull involved in Sunday’s attack on a girl on Powder Horn Drive in Palm Coast. (Humane Society)

The 9-year-old girl had gone to the Palm Coast house at 47 Powder Horn Drive to play with her friend there Sunday. She never made it past the front door, where a pit bull attacked and mauled her, leaving her injured in so many places that she had to be sedated to get stitches.


Sarah Fancher, the owner of the 2-year-old dog, has voluntarily surrendered him to the Flagler Humane Society, fearing that it has been aggressive too often. It was the second attack in two weeks involving a pit bull in Palm Coast. On Oct. 25, a 76-year-old pizza delivery man was attacked in much the same manner as the 9-year-old girl: he’d gone up to a residence’s door, knocked, and was attacked when the dog, a pit bull boxer mix, slipped through and went outside. The victim was hospitalized.

The 9-year-old girl was standing just outside the house on Powder Horn when, according to Fancher’s account to the girl’s parents, the dog–called Chopper–got out and attacked the girl. She said her son and daughter were getting ready to leave the house when the 9-year-old girl knocked to ask if her daughter could play. Chopper pushed past her son and went on the attack.

Fancher’s son, who said he’d never seen Chopper act that way, described him as uncontrollable and as acting in a “rabid” manner, biting the girl and not letting go. The boy immediately attempted to get the dog to desist but couldn’t. Fancher ran over and tried likewise as her son “grabbed a yellow furniture Dolly and began to strike Chopper in the head,” the sheriff’s incident report states. Mother and son “struck Chopper several times with a closed fist in his head in an effort to get him to let go.” The dog finally did, but not before inflicting severe harm on the child.

Fancher picked up the girl and brought her inside to tend to her wounds as her son secured Chopper on the enclosed back porch. He then went over to the girl’s house to let her parents know of the attack.

The girl’s parents told deputies that the dog bit the girl on top of the head, the back of her shoulder, on both calves and shins, and on her arms, “to name a few,” the report states. The girl was “covered up in the ER bed and some of her wounds had gauze on them” when a deputy arrived at Florida Hospital Flagler’s emergency room.

Her parents said that “due to [her] pain level and the number of bites sustained during the attack that [she] will need to be sedated in order for the doctor to stitch the wounds,” according to the sheriff’s incident report.

By then Fancher had called 911, told them of the incident and informed the dispatch center that she wanted to surrender the dog “due to the dog constantly being aggressive,” though the report notes that she told deputies in person that the dog didn’t have such a history. Palm Coast Animal Control responded.

Fancher had adopted Chopper from the Orange County Humane Society when the dog was 8 months old. Speaking with deputies, she said that while the dog hasn’t showed aggression toward anyone previously, he gets “excited” whenever someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the door. Fancher said she’d told the girl and other guests not to ring the doorbell or knock on the door in the past.

Animal control arrived at the scene and took possession of the dog without incident. “At this time, it is unknown how many stitches [the girl] received or what other treatment was provided to her while she was in the Emergency Room,” the report states.

Chopper has been quarantined at the Humane Society. Asked what his fate may be, Amy Carotenuto, the society’s executive director, was not hopeful. “We really don’t have much choice, since he inflicted injuries to a child,” she said. “Odds are euthanasia. Breaks my heart.” She added: “I want to start a large scale education program to get pet owners to put their pets away before opening the front door. Those poor dogs are just protecting their family in their minds. And they die for it.”

Palm Coast government is in the midst of a re-write of its animal-control ordinance, which includes rules regarding dogs and dangerous dogs, and will be submitting the proposed results to the city council later this month.

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35 Responses for “Pit Bull Mauls 9-Year-Old Palm Coast Girl In Incident Similar to Attack on Pizza Man”

  1. woody says:

    Homeowners insurance?Probably not.

  2. LAMO says:

    If you truly want a solution, start holding pet owners accountable for the actions of their pets. Poor dog has to suffer, due to the ignorance of humans, very sad.

  3. ghost77 says:

    Homeowners insurance unlikely as most insurance companies will not provide coverage for anything if a pit bull resides there. In fact, my brother switched insurance companies and when the new company came to do a physical inspection, the inspector saw his pit bull through a front picture window as he walked up to the house. He turned around, got in his car and drove off. A few days later, my brother received a letter telling him they would not insure him under any circumstance and canceled his policy.

  4. thomas says:

    Pit Bulls are a breed gone bad. They should be rounded up and killed.

  5. Born and Raised Here says:

    Most family dogs are there to protect the family, they do not know when someone comes to the door whether they are an a neighbor, delivery man, or intruder. It is the owner of the dog to restrain and confine there dog before answering there door, Very simple task.

  6. Flatsflyer says:

    When will the City wake up and ban all aggressive breeds. We have had multiple deaths numerous maulings just so some fool can have a pet. Hopefully the child’s parents will hire Morgan & Morgan and end up owning a new house. Never met a pit bull owner who was not a real loser.

  7. suzanne taylor says:

    Time for shelters to be held accountable for adopting out a breed that is NOT good with children. Poor little girl is lucky to be alive.

  8. A DVM says:

    Poor, poor animal! I believe as a vet, rescuer, and dog behaviourist, that the owner of the dog is at fault. She admits herself to being scared of the dog. That instantly put a dog at risk for this type of accident. The dog is anxious bc it doesn’t understand the situation. Owners not educated can make small errors that affect a dog in huge way!We breed and teach these dogs to protect us, but when they do, they are punished. This is the reason people should be schooled in behaviour and health requirements, and pass a test, in order to own a pet. ANY PET! I have rescued pits for almost two decades! You need to understand how your animal views situations. Fences and doors are barriers of their territory, and bull breeds, shepherds etc are bred specifically to enhance the desire to protect these boundaries. The dog should be put away before answering a door. It should always be put away when guests or strangers are invited into the home. Pits especially, are very bonded to their owners and will protect them to the death. They are, however, one of the least likely breeds to be person aggressive. This is NOT A BREED ISSUE. This is an owner who was not able or prepared to be responsible. It is no different than the gun arguement. A 357 magnum will kill someone, as will a m-15. One is not more or less dangerous than the other. It depends on the owner, their intent, education, and training. I hope child is well and has a speedy recovery.

  9. Brandon Cross says:

    My son has two pit bulls and got them as puppies.
    He spent hours upon hours training them to follow commands and only respond aggressively if commanded to do so.
    What I am saying is these dogs are aggressive in nature, yet trainable. If not properly trained they will follow their basic instincts.
    This animal was obviously not Properly trained which lead to the injuries to this unsuspecting child.
    Hopefully, dog owner has Good Insurance,?
    Somehow I have the feeling this will not be the case.

    Just Sayin

  10. Anonymous says:

    Clearly you know absolutely nothing about dogs. For starters it is a dog… dogs are trained and raised by their owners. If their owners treat and train the poorly then it’s the owners fault for the way dog is acting. I know many people who own pit bulls who are loving, kind, and friendly. It’s not about the breed. It’s about the owner.

  11. Jeanne says:

    The dog owner most likely is not insured for dog attack’s. Most ins companies won’t cover pit bulls And ban aggressive breeds? That would be most dogs. It’s all in their training or lack of training. I have a German Shepherd. She loves people but hates other dogs. We take precautions including putting her up when someone’s at the door before we open it. We put her through extensive training with a professional to listen to commands. But most dogs do protect. These owners should be held accountable. They should have put their dog through training and done more. That poor girl is now traumatized. And a dog is being put down.
    You can’t blame all dog breeds.

  12. Emily says:

    Chopper is my dads dog and the reason the little girl got bit was because me my brother and my mom were leaving when the little girl came over to ask if I could hang out and we have a front door and a screen door my brother opend up the screen door and was never gonna open up the screen door the little gilt was the one who opens up the screen door and she knows we have told her multiple times not to open the door and we have also told her call before u come over chopper is not an aggressive dog the dorrbell Startled him and he got scared and he pushed through my brother and bit her Chopper she was doing his job don’t take this the wrong way chipper is a really good family dog he loves people. I miss him so much I love u chopper I hope we can get him back look on the picture he is scared and we have never seen him scared he has never been scared around us I feel so bad I miss u chopper I have been crying for 3 days and I am crying making this I jus want to serve your cute face just no we all love u and miss u u will always be loved

  13. Emily says:

    And also when ever anyone comes over we always put our two dogs outside and keep them out there until the person leaves that fine we had no time cause the little girl opens the door herself and can we plz just get chopper back

  14. Rescuers 🐾🐾🐾 says:

    Well said that dog was only in it’s bound and never ever have I opened my door unless my dogs are secured in there kennels I also rescue bully breeds because the ignorance of the human race is astonishing

  15. Reddd123 says:

    Ah yes, blame the child for being mauled and call the dog a “protector”, all in the same article.
    Another mighty “heroic” pit bull savagely takes down a small child who had thr audacity to knock on the front door to see if her friend could play. Seems like a real deadly threat.

    Kill this dog and throw the owner in prison. They admit they knew it was aggressive. Sue them for every penny of the bills generated as a result of this attack–including the trauma counseling that’s yet to come.

  16. Anonymous says:

    My sister owned a pit bull from 6 weeks old and her dog was never aggressive toward anyone. It’s all in how the dog is trained or lack there of.

  17. DANA S. says:

    Pit bulls have already killed 25 people this year. It’s not about the owner. It’s genetics.

  18. Betty says:

    That’s bull because this dog wasn’t aggressive before. But there putting down. My neighbors dog came in MY yard this year and bit my son in the face and they didn’t take the dog. Only quarantine for 10 days. So that’s bull!

  19. Anony says:

    Gee, it’s ALWAYS pitbulls mauling people, killing them. Now that Grayhounds have been banned from racing, how about making THEM your dog of choice??? Otherwise they will be killed off.

  20. Teri says:

    The owner needs to be held accountable for this. This child will never be the same because of the owners negligence. Owner claims that the dog has been aggressive way too often. She should have done something then, now it’s just too darn late.

  21. CW says:

    I have seen some friendly wonderful pit bulls. They love their families. They don’t like outsiders and are very protective. They sometimes don’t accept a baby into the family. They kill people. They maim people. Even the nicest ones can be unpredictable and I’m assuming the trained ones. I would never take the risk personally. It’s not worth your life or possibly someone innocently coming to your door. I have gone to shelters and rescues to adopt and find that the majority of dogs there are Pitbulls. What does that say?

  22. Susan says:

    A good dog knows the difference between a threat and a child, pizza guy, fed ex ect. Some breeds cause too much damage when they attack. This is a bad dog.

  23. nomorepitbulls says:

    As usual the “Ive never seen it act that way before” and “I had a pit bull and it was the sweetest lovingest snookems”

    They are an evil breed owned by wanna be tough guys

  24. Agkistrodon says:

    If your dog goes bat crap crazy when someone comes to your door, YOU have failed as a per owner.

  25. Bob C says:

    I really do not like the fear mongering concerning pit bulls and home owners insurance. There are plenty of insurance companies that will provide homeowners insurance if you have a pit bull type dog.

  26. AC says:

    Most family dogs do not try to kill a guest who has knocked at the door especially one such as this child that was known to the dog. The Humane Society is one of the big problems here with the “all dogs are individuals” mantra. Instead their advice should be “all breeds have characteristics both physical and behavioral “ and those should be the factors families should take into account when choosing a dog. Pit Bulls and their mixes killed 6 people in this country in October, 2 more so far in November including little 1 yr old Triniti Harrell of Rocky Mount, NC whose mother can be heard on an agonizing 911 call pleading for help to come fast because her 6 yr old pit bull would not let go of the baby. This call went on for 10 minutes while the dispatcher tried to coach her through getting the dog to release its grip on the baby including hitting it with s frying pan and getting a knife to cut the dogs neck muscles. Most dogs do not do this- attack unprovoked the baby in the family. Pit Bulls engage in this kind of traumatic, unrelenting attack daily. Think about that when you go to the shelter to pick out a dog. Pit Bulls have killed 32 people in the US so far this year, last year it was 39. Pit bulls and their mixes kill their owners more often than any other breed and they kill more people than all other breeds combined. Why would anyone who has a child in the home choose a pit bull? Why would anyone who has a child let them play at the home of a friend with a pit bull. Folks you need to draw the line when it comes to the favorite dog of the Humane Society and every other rescue. When choosing a dog caution is forgiving but regret is a life sentence. When they say “all dogs can bite” they are not addressing the issue- all dogs do not maul relentlessly with a grip that cannot be pried loose without a breakstick. Stop the madness. What I will never understand is why anyone would risk the well being of a child by allowing them to be in a home with an unpredictable dog that has been bred for hundreds of years and continues to be bred by the dog fighting industry of America to maul and kill suddenly and relentlessly.

  27. Sabrina says:

    Parump pum pum(drum roll)………same breed, same severity, different owners, different day, different child.
    And the beat goes on……

  28. pitbullbabies says:

    My daughter has 2 pitbull rescues that live with my 2 grandbabies. I will admit I was leary at first these dogs being around my grandbabies but they are the 2 most loving dogs. They think they are cats (which my daughter also has), they lay on the back of the couch watching out the windows at all times some part of their bodies have to be touching yours each dog has picked a child to sleep with. They are always smiling when not drooling. I do believe it is all in how they are raised.

  29. Mary Fusco says:

    Reddd, I truly feel for the poster Emily who says that chopper is her dog. I dont think anyone is blaming the victim for the attack. However, if she is 9 years old and has been asked to call before coming over and not to open the door, a little blame lies with her. I have a chihuahua and a Jack Russell/chi mix. The Jack Russell, for whatever reason, is aggressive to people in our home that he does not know. For this reason, I always secure him when I am expecting a stranger. Believe it or not, it is not always the fault of the dog. Years ago when I lived in NY we had a very large piece of property and the entire back was fenced in chain link so that I could let my 2 lhasas out. Our neighbors had 2 boys and our dogs could not tolerate them and would go beserk if they even heard their voices. I could never understand their reaction when they were fine with other children . Turns out that these little suckers were poking sticks through the fence to attempt to hurt the dogs. Even the most laid back dog can be “spooked” by someone and bite. I have owned all different types of dogs for over 50 years and I am well aware that they are unpredictable. Anyone who states that their dog will never bite, is a fool. This is sad for everyone concerned.

  30. James Lanier. Father of Grace lanoer says:

    Lets get something strait here. What they did was down right criminal. We now have proof that they did not call 911 until 10 mnts after we did. They held her against her will and tried to clean her up and would not allow her own children to even run across the street to even let is know what happened. Tje dog owners then tried to clean her up for 15 mints before they even told us what happened! She did nothing to get tje dog off my daughter! The owners of the dog are morbidly over weight and are not even capable of doing a task as to fight a pitbull off of a 9 year old! I am horrified that they would now call my daughter a liar that was just viciously attacked by there dog. All the neighbors in tje area Have to walk tHe other way aroumd the block because they are afraid tje dog was goimg to come through the window. Bad thing is that as the father of the daughter that has been mauled, We still are not mad at the dog. But we are furious that they would do such a hainous thing as to try to cover it up. Hpw do you cover up over 50 stiches. We dont even know how many there were. Drs stopped counting. Now my ddaughter feels that everyone thinks she’s a liar. Im kinda upset but not surprised that they liedd to cover them selfs but we all ready know what kind of people they are. My daughter knows that she is not allowed in that house and never opened that door like they are now saying. She is not allowed over there and hasn’t been in all most 2 yrs now. Anyway my little girl is a hero in my eyes right now. That dog tried to kill her. If an adult had inflicted that much damage to a child do you think it would only be quaranteed for 10 days? Would they even have a chance for bail? PROBABLY NOT!!!! But they don’t see it like that I guess. I can’t stop think that what if it was fatal and they deprived me and my wife of seeing my daughter for the last time because of there negligence. Again in my eyes its criminal and we now can prove it. We have all the recordings and times that both I and the owners called 911. She only called to surrender the dog not to help my daughter! IM HORRIFIED! That is tje type of action that would lead to someone driving away in a hit and run! Just a comaprison but I feel is not far from what they tried to do as for when they tried to clean her up! Im now confused as to how someone can do that. If my dog was to do something like that, and yes we have a 70 lb loving and trained very well boxer. I would do everthimg to comply and help that child. Not call a lawyer and the newspaper to make myself look better under these horrible, criminal, and completely arrogant situation! Any 1 with animals that are like this please take responsibilt fpr your actions! Sry i had to post this bit i can’t stand to see them try to make themselves look as they did good. THEY DIDNT! And the only ones that will probably be hirt by there are actions are her kids. And i would also liKe to hug and thank monicas kid for using the yellow handtruck to get the dog off of her.Ty!!! You probably saved her life! Ty Christian and Emily for doing that for we know now what the truth is. Again sry for having to do this but it has to stop and they need to take resposibilty for it. We wAnt nothing from them.
    VERY ANGRY AND CONFUSED RIGHT NOW!

  31. Richard says:

    Ever ask yourself why animal shelters and animal adoption centers have 90 some percent Pit Bull dogs versus other breeds in their facilities?

  32. gerry white says:

    Pit bulls were created by humans for blood sports, for bringing down bulls and bears and ripping them to pieces. They have been selectively bred to attack and kill in a pit for over 800 years. Why are people surprised when they attack? They are not pets, they are purposed fighting dogs. This is why pit bulls severely injure and kill more than all other 300 plus dog breeds combined.

    Why are we still breeding pit bulls? No one needs a fighting dog for a pet.

  33. Mary Fusco says:

    Richard, that is because supposed intelligent humans are aholes. A lot of people also take large breed dogs such as pits and leave them in yards alone. They become frustrated and aggressive and as soon as they are able to escape, watch out. Anyone who has children or dogs is 100% responsible for their actions although neither seem to grasp this fact. Any dog, large or small, is a huge responsibility. It doesn’t matter how much you train them, they can and will attack. My daughter has a 7 pound chihuaha. A few years ago, my grandson was running in the house with a friend. He tripped and fell on the dog who was sleeping and it gave him a nasty bite right under his eye. Not because the dog was vicious, but because she was startled. My daughter took my grandson to the ER because the bite was so close to his eye. He was okay but the dog had to be reported and branded as a bad dog. Luckily it was not his little friend who fell on the dog. When my daughter was 3 she was standing in our front yard eating a cookie. 2 shepherd mixes owned by neighbors running loose jumped on her for the cookie because they were starving. Luckily, she was was not afraid of dogsand did not pull away or they would have taken her lip off. She was bit inside her mouth and on her face. I had a 6 month old lhasa killed by a neighbor’s very large dog. Her dog dug a hole under my fence, my little dog got through and had his neck snapped. My dog was out to do his business. Their dog lived in the yard. People are just idiots. Animals are animals. They have no say.

  34. Angry says:

    Flagler County needs to implement restrictions on pitbulls. Period. I know too many people that have been bit or attacked by one. They are dangerous and people are too stupid to know this. There are about five families on my street that own pitbulls, or similar breeds, unfortunately, and the dogs are constantly roaming the neighborhood without a leash by themselves, looking for trouble.

  35. fpatel says:

    I think the dog owner should takes the full responsibility of this incident. He should be at least pay all the medical expenses, or even jailed if his dog has been attacking people many times. I have just read a nice article about this at https://www.lemberglaw.com/dog-bite-attack-injury-lawyer-attorney-ct/. Hope this helps.

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