“I remember the wagon. I remember the dog was a pit bull. I was the one who was really hurt." Charlotte Blevins was just 14 months old, out for a ride in a wagon when the pit bull named Duke broke from his leash and mauled her in Omaha more than five years ago.
"Eighty percent of her scalp was removed," said her mom, Wendy Blevins. "Her ear was split down and the partially detached in the back. The dog actually bit her entire head and she had teeth marks going across her face.”
Wendy tried fighting the dog off, but it bit her in the neck and face. “Before I could get to her it was done. I never thought my kid would die, never.”
Charlotte survived, but her journey has been incredibly long and tough. “She’s had nine reconstructive surgeries," said Wendy.
Today, Charlotte is 6 years old, a vibrant first-grader. Her beautiful long hair covers the scars that still remain. “I want it down to my feet like Rapunzel so I can just go out the window without a ladder if there’s a fire."
Charlotte has spent years in and out of the hospital. “I don’t feel anything right there except it’s itchy.” She still needs two surgeries to finish pulling her scalp together. They don’t have to be done right away. “She’s old enough to make that decision on her own," said Wendy. "She wants absolutely nothing to do with it.”
“I don’t want more surgeries," said Charlotte. "I don’t want to go through all that again and again and again.”
For now, the surgeries will wait. This budding artist just wants to be a kid and hang out with her little brother, Miles. “This has not stopped her one bit," said Wendy.
Although Charlotte came close to dying because of an animal, she wants to be a zookeeper. However, dogs aren’t at the top of her list. “You can tame a lion but you can’t tame a dog. You don’t have the tools."
After the attack, Wendy became an advocate for a Pit Bull/Dangerous Dog Ordinance in Omaha. They were attacked in June 2008 and by October the ordinance was in place. Wendy has also been honored by dogsbite.org for her work in raising awareness.
As for the pit bull, Duke was put down. His owner, Tina Agerson, was sentenced to 275 days in jail for the attack. Wendy said Agerson didn’t have insurance, so they had to pay for all of Charlotte’s surgeries. It ended up costing them $10,000-$15,000 out of their own pockets.