Adrinna Adkins, 9, was shielding her pet cat when a pit bull attacked her inside her home at McEver Vineyards Apartments.
The dog, which belonged to a family friend, was going after the cat.
Instead, it bit Adkins, a third-grader at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy, leaving bite marks from her elbows to above her shoulders.
“She was running down to the office screaming for help,” said Kivea Thomas, 8, who shares a bus stop with Adkins at the McEver Road apartment complex. “Then the lady over there, she had something and she threw it at the dog and the dog ran away.”
A maintenance man at the complex called 911 and officers and medical personnel responded at about 4 p.m., said Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, spokesman with the Gainesville Police Department. The child was flown by helicopter to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Hospital officials did not return calls Thursday night.
Adkins’ sister Darian Adkins, 17, said her younger sister was home alone at the time of the attack.
“We were just on the bus. We get home about 15 minutes after her,” Darian Adkins said.
She said the dog was recently adopted. Neighbors described it as a brindle pit bull, a “mean, muscular-looking dog.”
Robin Young, who lives in a nearby apartment, said police found the dog near a playground toward the back end of the complex.
Holbrook said some of the experienced K-9 officers were able to apprehend it before animal control arrived.
Darian Adkins was not sure of her sister’s condition Thursday afternoon. Their mother was already headed to the hospital.
Neighbors said it was a miracle the girl was able to fight the dog off by herself.
“She’s a sweet little girl. That just tore everybody up around here,” Young said. “I hear you’re allowed to have a dog, but I never knew anybody who would have a big dog like that living in their apartment.”
Adrinna Adkins’ friends and neighbors said they are praying for her and hope for a speedy recovery.
“We got to pray for her. That is something that poor baby is going to have to live with the rest of her life,” Young said.
Metro Editor Shannon Casas contributed to this report.