A Florida mom has been released on bail after being charged with child neglect in a case that involved a pit bull mix puppy gnawing off the fingers of a child.
Chloe Wisniewski, 21, was arrested last week following a four-month investigation, according to court records.
According to the arrest affidavit, on February 14, deputies in Charlotte County, Florida, went to a home in Port Charlotte, about an hour south of Tampa, to investigate a dog bite.
They met with Wisniewski, who recounted placing her baby in a bassinet so that she could take a ‘quick shower.’
While she was in the bathroom, she heard ‘screaming’ and left to find the new family dog Apollo, a three-month-old pit bull mix that the household had brought home the night before, ‘chewing’ on her baby daughter’s hand
The mother said she immediately pulled the dog off the baby, wrapped the wounds in cloth and called 911.
She told deputies there was ‘so much blood’ that she couldn’t look at the baby’s fingers.
After emergency medical workers stabilized the baby, she was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital, where she was taken into surgery.
Surgeons were forced to amputate three fingers from the child’s left hand, and partially amputated two fingers from her right, according to the criminal complaint.
Charlotte County Animal Control took Apollo into custody and the Department of Children and Families conducted an assessment of Wisniewski.
Authorities determined that a urine analysis of the mother’s urine tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
‘It really was just sort of a bizarre, very unfortunate incident,’ said Brian Jones, Division Manager at Charlotte County Animal Control, according to the local NBC outlet.
The case was then handed off to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office’s Major Crimes Unit, which headed up the four-month investigation.
Authorities found probable cause that Wisniewski ‘did, by culpable negligence, fail to provide the baby with the care and supervision and services necessary to maintain physical health,’ leading to ‘permanent disfigurement’ to the child.
Apollo was reportedly quarantined per Animal Control protocol and eventually transferred to the Animal Welfare League.
The baby was sent to recover with family members and Wisniewski was granted supervised visitation of the child after posting a $7,500 bond on Monday.
Neighbors of Wisniewski recalled the swarm of emergency responders that filled the generally quiet neighborhood following the attack.
Kecia Godfrey said: ‘We heard a whole lot of commotion going on out here. There was police vans, forensics vans, they were starting to rope off everything with the yellow tape.’
Godfrey called what happened a ‘tragedy’ and said that in a quarter-century, she has never seen or heard of anything like this happening.