Felicity Peden 2 year old California girl mutilated after mauled by pack of family puppies left with internal and external injuries. The dangers of littermate syndrome.
A 2 year old California girl has been left disfigured and unrecognizable after being mauled by four puppies her parents had recently adopted.
Felicity Peden during the attack — which lasted ten minutes — led to the toddler being mutilated, with chunks from her ear, neck and upper body missing and with her face covered in scratches after the Queensland Labrador puppies mauled her at the family home in California.
Mom Michele, 30, who lives with her husband, Michael and their three other children, Samantha, 13, Daisy, 11, and Daryl, one, had adopted the dogs just three weeks earlier in May 2022 from a friend.
According to the parents, the animals had showed no signs that they could become aggressive.
It is thought the canines – who have since been sent to a shelter for rehoming – may have been suffering from littermate syndrome, which can cause behavioral issues when siblings are raised together.
‘I blamed myself and the guilt of not seeing the signs…’
With Felicity now on the road to recovery, mom Michele has spoken out to avoid other parents going through the same ordeal.
It was on 3 June, while preparing for their youngest’s child’s birthday, that Michele stepped out to go shopping while her husband remained at home with the kids.
Soon after, the mom received the news of Felicity having been mauled by the four dogs.
Arriving at the hospital, Michele was horrified to discover Felicity unconscious with deep gashes, bloody scratches all over her face and chunks taken out of her ear.
‘They had eaten her ear and mutilated her face, neck and upper body,’ the mom told Jam Press.
‘I blamed myself and the guilt of not seeing the signs was overwhelming.
‘At the time, I had no other information but I concluded that the only thing in the backyard that could have caused that kind of damage was the puppies.’
More bad news to come
In a bid to raise awareness and to stop the tragedy from happening to any other families, the parents have shared their story on social media, where it has since gone viral.
They have also launched a GoFundMe to raise money for Felicity’s mounting hospital bills, with $9K currently raised of a $25,000 goal.
Due to the child’s severe injuries, she was flown to a specialist children’s hospital with a trauma center in Fresno, California, where she received plastic surgery in a bid to save her ear.
Michele said: ‘After three hours of plastic surgery, they were unable to save much of her ear – except for her earlobe and inner ear.
‘Medics informed us she had muscle damage to her face, arms and legs, where she will need many surgeries in the near future.’
But there was more bad news to come.
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Ongoing further treatment
Doctors told the parents their daughter’s kidneys were failing and her body was beginning to shut down from the trauma, as they suggested putting her on dialysis.
Over the next few days, Felicity stabilized and the swelling on her face started to reduce, where scans revealed she hadn’t suffered any lasting damage to her internal organs or neck.
She has since improved and has been released from hospital after seven days – but is still attending appointments to have plastic surgery once a week.
After she turns seven, Felicity will undergo further plastic surgery on her face and have part of her rib removed to construct a new ear.
The family’s four pups were taken into an animal shelter after local authorities decided they didn’t need to be put down and instead, should be separated due to suffering from littermate syndrome.
Michele said: ‘Littermate syndrome rarely occurs in canine siblings who have been raised in the same household beyond the normal 10 weeks of age.
‘As a result, a whole host of behavioral issues can become present while they try to display ‘pack behaviors.’
‘They can turn instantly violent towards others, so after the attack on Felicity they ended up attacking each other as well.
‘The pups also managed to get inside our chicken coop where they killed nine of my 15 chickens.
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Sent to be rehomed
‘While we loved our little pups, we’ve now sent them to a shelter for rehoming and due to their young age, it’s believed they are unlikely to attack again if they are separated.
‘If they can’t be adopted or still show signs of aggression after training, they will sadly have to be put down.’
As she shares her daughter’s journey on Instagram, parents have flooded the comments with their reactions to the tragedy.
‘Omg my heart hurts about what happened but so happy for her recovery,’ one user commented. [sic]
Someone else added: ‘I can only imagine how scared she was! I’m so sorry this happened.’
‘Girl I don’t think I’ll allow my kids to play in front yard anymore man,” another person said.