Painful memories for mom of daughter killed by pit bull

Funeral for 6-year-old Jaelah Smith to be held Saturday in Jacksonville


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sheree Smith is haunted by memories of her 6-year-old daughter being rushed to the hospital after she was attacked by a family friend's dog at her Arlington home.

Jaelah Smith, the little girl who was attacked, died while receiving treatment in the hospital. The dog that attacked Jaelah, a pit bull, was euthanized Wednesday.

Sheree Smith said it's a nightmare she hopes never happens to another family.

"I need all parents to just know no matter how tired you are, read that book. Let them show you that new picture they drew because it can all be over just like that," Smith said.

Jaelah was a kindergarten student at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School. Smith said she was a typical 6-year-old who had dreams of being a Disney princess.

"She wasn't a bad child at all. She really loved God, and she would let people know it," Smith said. "She loved everyone. She saw no wrong in anyone. That’s what I think we all need to do."

The tragedy has rocked Jaelah's family, especially her mother who has three other children to care for.

This weekend, the family will say its final goodbyes.

"I’m building up my strength for Saturday, honestly. I know I’ll completely just lose it," Smith said. "I know she is in a better place. I just have to keep telling myself that to get through it."

A celebration of Jaelah's life will be held at the Wayman Temple on Lebelle Street at 11 a.m. Saturday.

"I thank everyone for sending their love, their prayers and just keeping us in their thoughts," Smith said. "It really means a lot and I know she’s smiling about that right now."