A little girl had part of her arm torn off when she reached inside the cage of a wolf dog at an illegal animal breeding facility, it is claimed.
Two-year-old Sophia Scraver suffered the horror injury at an animal rehabilitation facility in Michigan, in the US, run by her grandmother.
On Friday authorities swooped on the Howling Timbers animal sanctuary, where they said 47 illegal “wolf dogs” were found.
Sophia’s family are now appealing for help to pay for an artificial limb after her left arm was severed beneath the elbow.
In an emotional appeal, her loved ones said she has a “long road ahead of her”.
A GoFundMe appeal states: “As you can see in the photo she is doing very well and still has that beautiful smile, but does have a long road ahead of her.
“Let’s all rally together and raise some money to help cover medical expenses as well as any expenses towards a future prosthetic for her.”
The horrifying incident happened on July 23, when Sophia stuck an arm into a cage and a dog latched onto it.
A volunteer tried to free the child’s arm, investigators said.
Conservation Officer Anna Cullen said: “No person should be allowed near those dogs.
“It’s not fair to this child who lost an arm.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of anyone who may encounter any animal at Howling Timbers, including the health and safety of all the animals at the facility.”
Sophia’s grandmother, Brenda Pearson, denied the little girl was attacked by an animal, however, and claimed her arm got stuck.
She described the animal as “friendly” and said he “loved to be groomed”.
She wrote on Facebook : “We believe she grabbed his collar and he pulled to get away. She then got her arm stuck in the fence at the elbow and lost her arm.”
In a statement on Friday, the Michigan Department of Naturual resources said the facility is believed to have been illegally breeding animals.
These include “wolf dogs”, it said.
The statement read: “Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers led a joint investigation and served a search warrant Friday morning at Howling Timbers, an animal rehabilitation facility in Muskegon that is believed to be illegally breeding and housing animals, including “wolf dogs” – a crossbreed between a wolf and dog (or another wolf dog) that is illegal in Michigan unless necessary permits are obtained.
“During today’s search, officers removed six red foxes, three coyotes, four eastern box turtles and two fawns.
“Other non-native wildlife remains on-site, including 47 illegal wolf dogs.”