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5-year-old girl dies after Simi Valley pit bull attack

September 30, 2008 |  1:03 pm

The Associated Press reports:

A 5-year-old girl attacked by a pit bull in a family friend's backyard in Simi Valley has died, authorities said Monday.

Katya Todesco died Friday at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, three days after the dog bit her on her face and neck, said Los Angeles County coroner's investigator Ed Winter.

Katya's mother, Katia Todesco, said she and her daughter were visiting a friend who was taking care of the pit bull Tuesday.

The little girl and the friend's 13-year-old daughter were playing in the backyard when the 5-year-old bumped into the dog, then was mauled.

Her mother heard screams and came outside to find the dog latched on to her daughter. “It was a horrible attack,” Todesco said Monday. “With my own hands I was pulling the dog's jaw.”

Despite losing huge amounts of blood, the girl was revived at Simi Valley Hospital, then was moved to Children's Hospital, where she survived until Friday afternoon.

“She was an extraordinary girl,” Todesco said. “We are devastated.”

Simi Valley Police said they did not announce the attack or subsequent death until getting questions from reporters Monday because they were not pursuing criminal charges and wanted to respect the family's privacy.

The 35-pound male pit bull was being held in quarantine and was almost certain to be euthanized, Ventura County Animal Regulation Director Kathy Jenks said.

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