By Jim Keary, The Washington Times
Tae Neem Pak described how a day that began with her planting flowers last spring, ended with her swinging a rake at the 100 pound dog that had pinned and was mauling her daughter, Tiffany, 4.
“I heard her scream, ‘Ah! Mommy! Mommy!'” Mrs. Pak testified through an interpreter in Fairfax Circuit Court yesterday. “I saw Tiffany laying on her stomach, and the Rottweiler was on top of Tiffany.”
The Korean immigrant said she tried to pull the neighbor’s dog off her 40-pound daughter but couldn’t.
“I swung the garden tool from side to side, hitting the Rottweiler” said Mrs. Pak, 38. “1 tried to pull Tiffany away and the dog kept growling and attacking her.”
Her testimony came in the first day of a trial in a lawsuit filed by the Paks against the dog’s owner, Maria Cerqueira.
The suit contends Tiffany will need special plastic surgery, therapy and special schools to overcome the trauma, from the attack.
Mrs. Cerqueira’s attorney ridiculed those medical claims as fabrications of the Paks’ lawyers. [Mrs. Cerqueira’s attorney] said his client admits that her dog attacked Tiffany but that there is no proof the child was so traumatized that she will need years of special psychological care.
But the plastic surgeon who treated Tiffany said it took more than 300 stitches to mend her wounds. He said Tiffany, who had just celebrated her birthday three days before the attack, will likely be scarred for life, although some of her scars can be removed through complicated plastic surgery.
The April 7, 1994, attack left Tiffany with more than 100 puncture wounds to her back, crotch and legs after the 15 month old dog jumped a fence into the girl’s yard, about 6:30 p.m. She was heading to her backyard swing set when the dog caught her in the side yard.
Dr. Franklin Richards, the plastic surgeon who treated Tiffany, testified yesterday that he was called to Fairfax Hospital Center to treat the girl because of the number and severity of the wounds.
“She had multiple open wounds,” Dr. Richards said yesterday. “It was an extremely severe dog bite.”
The dog, Kaiser, was later destroyed by the Animal Control Department.
Mrs. Pak said there was blood on Tiffany’s clothes, but she didn’t realize the severity of her daughter’s wounds until she was able to finally get her inside the house. That’s when she called county paramedics.
“When he [the paramedic] cut off her clothes and saw the wounds, he started saying, ‘oh my God, oh my God'”, Mrs. Pak testified yesterday.
The trial is expected to continue today with more testimony by Mrs. Pak before a jury of four men and three women.