Girl steps in front of toddler brother to protect him from pit bull attack

SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Whether it is saving her little brother, Mateo Lopez, 2 from being attacked by a dog or simply running into a pond, Alayna Burney, 11 is there for him.

"Since Mateo was born, they have been inseparable," said their mother, Mandi Beattie.

She told NewsChannel 7 while she felt mixed emotions of terrified and relieved after a pit bull attacked her kids over the weekend, she could not be more proud of her daughter. She said, "I'm just ecstatic that I still have everybody!"

"I thought that dog was going to rip me apart," recalled Burney.

She said she was taking a walk near their home in the Village of Bowler, pushing her brother in a stroller when she saw a dog charge them.

"I just ran in front of my brother and the dog attacked," she exclaimed. "He bit me and then he was dragging me around by my arm, then I jumped on the car and he went after my brother so I called him (the dog) again and then he started biting me in my legs."

She said within five seconds the neighbors came to her aid to get the dog off of her. Shawano County Sheriff Adam Bieber said neighbors used a bat and a two-by-four to do so.

"I would advise people to do whatever they had to do to protect that child from a dog," said Bieber. He said chances are if that dog would have biten, latched on, and shook Lopez, he would not be alive.

Lopez came out untouched. Burney suffered about four bites and 18 stitches, but kept her good humor intact. She was treated and released at a nearby hospital.

"I can finally take walks without dogs chasing me," she laughed.

Beattie said they remain friends with the woman that owns the dog and have no ill feelings towards pit bulls despite the same dog killing their family dog earlier in the week.

Bieber said the owners decided to euthanize the dog, and added it would have been recommended anyway given the circumstances. Because of the killing earlier that week, the dog was under mandatory quarantine, meaning it had to remain indoors.

"From what we understand, the dog was inside the house and we're not sure how the dog got outside the house," he explained adding the case remains under investigation.

"It takes a lot of bravery to take an attack from a dog," commended Bieber. He said they plan to honor Burney in some way in the near future.

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