'This can't be happening:' Family of girl mauled twice by dog says animal control doing nothing

DENVER – A toddler is recovering after being mauled by a dog – twice.

According to the family, the little girl needed 60 stitches and is expected to be OK, but both of the dogs that attacked her are still on the loose. The family said they needed to file two separate reports with Denver Animal Control.

Alyssia Steveson said her 2-year-old daughter, Vanessa, was attacked twice by a possible stray dog on Alameda Avenue and Alcott Street.

“The first time, she was walking with my boyfriend and his dad, and a dog came out of the dark and attacked her,” Steveson said. “She only needed a couple of stitches on the back of her head that time. We filed a report of that to animal control.”

Two weeks later, Steveson said Vanessa was attacked again.

“We’re not sure if it’s the same dog or two different dogs,” Steveson said. “But this time she needed 60 stitches on her face. She was walking with her grandmother on a morning walk, and the dog came out and attacked her. Her grandmother tried to fight the dog off of Vanessa but was bitten too.”

Alyssia Steveson said Vanessa was taken to Denver Health where she is expected to be released Friday evening.

Vanessa’s great-grandmother spoke with Denver7 and wants someone to be held accountable.

“When a dog bites a child, it needs to be taken very seriously,” Barbara Steveson said. “Whether it’s a stray or someone’s dog. If it’s a stray, animal control needs to find these stray dogs. This can’t be happening in that area, especially when children are out. I’m just glad that she is going to recover because we could have lost her.”

Denver7 contacted Denver County Animal Control Services, but no one picked up the phone.

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