An 11-year-old Bluffton girl bitten on her jaw Sunday by a pit bull mix was doing better Wednesday.
Kaelee Mucha went back to school at Hilton Head Island Middle School after staying home to recuperate Tuesday, according to a family friend.
Mucah received 28 stitches after the dog tore a 2-inch-by-3-inch section of skin under her jaw, said Chris Griffin, who is living with Mucha and her mother.
She was talking with friends beneath a streetlight on Tabby Trail near her home when she saw the leashed dog walking with its owner, Christine Wilkins, and her son, according to an incident report from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
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Wilkins said Mucha walked up to the group and threw her arms up in a gesture to hug the dog when it lunged, according to the report.
Mucha says she was sitting in the grass and the dog lunged at her without warning, Griffin said.
Griffin drove Mucha to the emergency room and called 911 en route after Wilkins carried the girl home.
Wilkins was distraught and told a sheriff's deputy she had never had problems with the dog, according to the report.
A representative with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control met with Wilkins and examined the dog, which has been quarantined for 10 days to observe any signs of rabies. The dog was inoculated this year, according to the sheriff's report.
The department called the incident an accident.
Griffin said Mucha's has some difficulty eating and is limited to soft foods. He said he would like to see the dog removed from the neighborhood and taken to a shelter.
"It's not a matter of if, but when it bites again. And, frankly, one time is one time too many," Griffin said. "It was a close call. You could tell the dog was going for her throat. If the owner wasn't there to pull the leash and pull the dog off her, it could have been worse. She could have been killed."
Attempts Wednesday to contact Wilkins for comment was unsuccessful.
Follow staff writer Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.