Mother speaks out after daughter's deadly dog attack

By Audrey Wise

May 6, 2014 Updated May 7, 2014 at 11:10 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill -- A Bloomington mother is still raw with emotion after her little girl was killed in the jaws of the family's pit pulls.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Half of those are children.

One of those was 4-year-old Kara Hartrich. Her mother, Roxanne Hartrich is telling Kara's story to prevent it from happening to another family.

Chris and Roxanne Hartrich had three pitbulls in their family home, Brutus, Brody and Bella.

"Never barked, never growled, never snapped, never had an intimidating look about them whatsoever, they were around our kids all day," explained Hartrich.

Kara picked them out.

She said,"When we went to get the second one, she couldn't decide what she wanted and she had to have both, so we ended up with three."

About four months ago, it was Kara's 4th birthday. Roxanne's mother was watching Kara and her two-year-old sister, when the two male dogs attacked. Kara was putting a toy away when it started.

Hartrich explained, "She said Brody knocked me into a wall, she said Brody hurt me. My mom bent down, she was down, ground level. She picked up Kara, she was hugging her saying I'm sure Brody didn't mean it Kara, I'm sure it was just an accident. She had barely gotten that out when Brody came flying from the play room and jumped into the air and attacked my mom and my daughter. My mom was finally able to lure him off of her and when she finally did that the other dog came in and attacked her as well."

Kara died at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal shortly after.

"She was gone, there was no bringing her back," she said. "He (the doctor) said prepare yourself, the damage is going to be excruciating painful to see."

Roxanne is telling Kara's story now to bring awareness about the dangers of certain kinds of dogs, and she said it's not just pitbulls.

"There's no reason for why this happened, and that's the really scary part for me is knowing that there's millions and millions of people with pitbulls and they've all got kids," said Hartrich.

Some people say aggressive dogs should be spayed or neutered. The Hartrich family planned to fix their male dogs, they just hadn't done it yet, but Roxanne doesn't know if that would have stopped the attack.

"I can't necessarily tell you that if I think we would have had our dogs fixed that this wouldn't have happened because I can't say that, cause it's happening all across the country to dogs that aren't and are," she said.

Roxanne visits her daughter's grave everyday. And while the Hartrich family works through their grief, Roxanne prays no other parent has to go through this.

"As a mom to a mom, or a mom to a dad, I would say don't take the chance, don't have your kids around them, just don't," she said.

To hear more from Roxanne Hartrich's interview click on the link attached to this story to the right of this page.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.