4-year-old girl stable Saturday morning following dog attack

Sheriff's deputies say girl had to have ear re-attached

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Update (09/15/12 10:19 a.m.):

The 4-year-old girl who was attacked by her father's Blue Heeler is in good condition Saturday morning.

El Paso Children's Hospital spokeswoman Georgina Panahi said the girl's vital signs are stable and she remains at the hospital.

Doña Ana County sheriff's deputies said the girl was flown to University Medical Center in El Paso after the attack.

Deputies said they received the call to respond to the 4100 block of Stryker Road around 1 a.m. on Friday.

The girl's father, Aaron Sapien, told deputies they were getting ready for a camping trip between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. He said he went to check the air in the tires on his camp trailer when his daughter, Jaylynn Keeler, went into the trailer with his male blue heeler.

Sapien told police the girl touched the dog on the head which caused the dog to attack.

Jaylynn suffered injuries to right right side of her face, her eye, cheek and ear. Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Jameson told ABC-7 the child had surgery to re-attach her ear.

According to posts on Facebook by the child's mother, Jaylynn will probably have scarring on her face from the attack.

Jameson said no charges have been filed at this point. Deputies are still investigating any history of aggression with the dog.

"Dogs may not be used to small children and any slight move or gesture toward the dog can trigger them to become aggressive. It's just one of those things that you don't know until it's too late," Jameson told ABC-7.

Jameson said Sapien owned the dog since he was a puppy. At this point, Sapien has relinquished all rights to the dog.

Per New Mexico law, the dog is now in quarantine at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley for 10 days where it will be monitored for rabies. After 10 days the dog will be evaluated and employees will determine if he can be adopted or will have to be euthanized.

Animal Service Center executive director Beth Vesco-Mock told ABC-7 Blue Heelers are a hyper breed that need to be socialized.

Vesco-Mock said children should always be supervised when they're around dogs of any breed.

"You need to always understand a dog is a dog. It's an animal. If that little child poked it in the face, woke up, hit it with her elbow, could have triggered the dog and he's going to lash out. He's going to lash out straight for the face because in the wild, that's what they do. They go for the face and the neck," Vesco-Mock said.

Vesco-Mock said she has seen an increase of aggressive dogs coming into the shelter recently. Last night they took in five dogs.

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