Attorney: No Criminal Charges Likely After 9-Year-Old Mauled By 3 Dogs In Pottawatomie County

Wednesday, October 30th 2019, 7:41 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

A 9-year-old girl continues to recover after being violently mauled by three dogs in Pottawatomie County. The incident happened on October 15 near Wanette. 

Willow Purland was on her bike and stopped to pick up rocks she thought were pretty on the ground near her home. That’s when deputies said three dogs attacked her at random. 

The dogs appeared to attack Purland’s limbs. She needed over 100 stiches after she arrived at OU Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.

“When I got to her, her clothes were ripped, and she was covered in blood,” said Melissa Wilson, Purland’s mother. “I didn't take my phone with me, so I had to carry her back to the house so we could call for an ambulance.”

Wilson said paramedics told her it’d been the worst mauling case they’ve ever seen.

“She went to get away from them (dogs) and they basically pinned her to the ground and wouldn't let her up,” said Wilson. “She said the only way they would leave her alone is if she played dead.”

Purland was released from the hospital for a couple of days, but she has since returned to OU Children’s Hospital. Some of her wounds will not heal because of dead tissue, and Purland’s left leg is numb.

An infection continues to raise concerns.

“If I could change it and make her better, I’d give up my last breath to make her better,” said Wilson. “She doesn't want to talk about it, so I know it bothers her, she is scared because she doesn't know what is going to happen next.”

Deputies said the dogs came from Forgotten Treasure Animal Rescue next door to the family’s home in Wanette. The rescue recently relocated to the property.

“Thank God they did not go for her throat, mainly it was just her limbs,” said Wilson. “She kept saying she was going from front to back, so we think she had scratches on her side that they were trying to turn her over.”

Forgotten Treasure Animal Rescue released this statement on its Facebook page: 

“As many of you have seen, there has been a horrific incident involving two of our foster dogs, a volunteer’s personal family dog and a 9-year-old child. We at Forgotten Treasures are devastated that this happened. None of the dogs involved have ever shown signs of aggression. We do not believe the child did anything to provoke the attack. The dogs broke out of their pen when no one was home. We are fully cooperating with authorities in this matter. The dogs involved are currently in mandatory quarantine pursuant to Oklahoma law and will be humanely euthanized when quarantine is complete. We are also repairing the damage to the pen caused by the dogs in question and not using it until it is repaired.

Our prayers are with this child and her family. Our hearts are broken in every way for the child, the volunteers, and the dogs. While we certainly understand the outrage you are feeling, please refrain from placing blame. The rescue could not have reasonably foreseen the animals would escape or attack. It is a horrific tragedy. Please pray for all involved. Spreading hate towards our hard-working volunteers who have tried to help make a difference in the lives of many, many animals, the rescue as a whole, or the dogs involved will help nothing and such comments will lead to being banned from this page.

We cannot and will not answer any questions at this time.”

Attorney Bob Dorsett now represents the family. Criminal charges, he said, are unlikely due to a lack of laws in Pottawatomie County.

“Pottawatomie County, the venue of this incident, has a population of 70,000, so it falls under different standards of care than people who live in Oklahoma County,” said Dorsett.

Work is has now begun on a lawsuit, aiming at tougher animal control laws in the state of Oklahoma.

“Lock up your dogs, put them in a pen, put them in your house,” said Wilson. “Don't let them run loose. It’s just so irresponsible.”

Dorsett said all three dogs involved in the incident have been euthanized.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the family pay for medical bills associated with the attack. Click here if you would like to donate.