Jacksonville man's dogs quarantined after 9-year-old's attack

Dogs' owner apologizes, saying he will remove the dogs once quarantine is lifted

By Allyson Henning - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 9-year-old Jacksonville girl is shaken up after she was attacked by her next door neighbor’s dogs over the weekend.

It happened sometime Sunday afternoon while Zion Lopez was riding her bicycle past her neighbor’s home in the city’s Panama Park neighborhood.

“All the dogs started rushing through the hole in the gate,” Zion told News4Jax. “And then I got scared and fell off my bike and they started attacking me.”

She was scared, but that fear paled in comparison to the thought of what might happen if she didn’t get away. So she took off and ran home to her mother.

"I was in the house lying down and my daughter, she came running and said she was attacked by three dogs," Sheena Burgess, Zion's mother, said.

The attack left her with scratches and bites from her face all the way down to her leg. One injury was so severe it left her pants soaked with blood and required stitches.

Despite a fence around the neighbor’s property, Zion’s family said his dogs often break free and run loose in the neighborhood. Sunday’s incident was their worst fear.

Linda Williams, Zion’s grandmother, said the dogs have been such an issue in the past that the family couldn’t take out the trash or do yard work without getting startled.

“It’s almost like I used to tell him—you hold me hostage in my owner house because of your dogs,” Williams said. “I can’t come outside, don’t know when to come out.”

A representative for the city’s Animal Care and Protective Services department told Zion’s family that their neighbor’s dogs have been quarantined in his home for 10 days.

The city did not answer a reporter’s questions about Sunday’s incident, the dogs or next steps in the case, saying it cannot comment because of the “active investigation.”

The dogs’ owner spoke with News4Jax on Monday. He said he’s “sorry” for what happened, adding that he plans to get rid of the dogs once the quarantine is lifted.

For Burgess, that's welcome news. “I would rather, you know, for them to be elsewhere because it’s not good,” she said.

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