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10-year-old Janesville girl attacked by dog, mother pleading for more precautions

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 1:27 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2021 at 6:44 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - A 10-year-old Janesville girl is recovering from a dog attack and her mother is now pleading with other pet owners take more precautions.

Makyia Howard was rollerblading around her neighborhood last Friday evening, as she does regularly.

Around 6 p.m. her mother, Anisa Sanfratello, got an alarming knock at the door from a neighbor. “All I heard was ambulance and daughter and I just took off running down the street,” said Sanfratello.

A dog, which the owner identified to police as a one-year-old pitbull mix, had run into the street and attacked Makyia as she was rollerblading.

“I was just kind of scared. I didn’t really know what to do. I was just screaming the whole time,” said Makyia.

Amber Basiks was in her backyard nearby the scene of the attack when she heard screaming and ran to see what was going on.

She saw the dog with its mouth latched onto Makyia’s leg, while its owner was attempting to stop it. “The dog had a hold of her right here (points to leg) and she was pulling on him trying to get him off of her,” said Basiks.

An incident report from the Janesville Police Department states the owner of the dog was also bitten on the forearm while attempting to restrain the dog by its collar. Eventually the dog let go and Basiks pulled Makyia to safety in a nearby yard, as her adult daughter called 911.

“I’m a mother of three, a grandmother of three and my first thought was get her down, get her prone on the ground, stop the bleeding,” said Basiks.

Basiks and her boyfriend, Don Tegt, started applying pressure to Makyia’s bleeding wounds with articles of their clothing, while also soothing her as they located her mother.

“I was on the ground with her and I was just kind of stroking her hair and trying to talk to her and keep her calm,” said Basiks.

Makyia was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery and remained hospitalized for the next four days. With severe muscle and tissue damage, she has a long road of plastic surgeries, skin grafts, physical therapy and mental health counseling ahead.

“As of right now, she can barely even walk,” said Sanfratello. Makyia is trying to keep a positive attitude and explained that she, “got some medicine so it doesn’t hurt as bad.”

Makyia Howard rests in a hospital bed following a dog attack in Janesville.
Makyia Howard rests in a hospital bed following a dog attack in Janesville.(Anisa Sanfratello)

The dog was taken by responding law enforcement to the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin for a 10-day quarantine, a normal procedure in the event of a dog bite.

It is unknown if the dog will be returned to its owner, re-homed, or possibly even put down. Humane society officials said it will be up to “law enforcement or a court” to decide what is next for the dog.

The owner, whom NBC15 unsuccessfully tried to contact at home and chose not to identify, was fined $263.50 for violating City Ordinance 8-5, “Dog/Cat Running At Large.” In other words, letting a dog roam off leash.

Sanfratello feels this all could have been prevented and is fearful to let her children play outside without knowing if the dog will return to the neighborhood.

“Even if you don’t think your dog is dangerous, it’s unpredictable. You never know what a dog is going to do. You need to keep your dog on a leash, you need to keep your dog confined,” said Sanfratello.

Despite everything, the family is still counting their blessings. Maykia says she was glad it was not her older sister, Makenna, who has autism and epilepsy.

“I’ve asked my sister to go with me around the block before, but I’m glad she didn’t because then she would’ve gotten hurt too,” said Makyia.

“I’m so proud of her for how she handled this. She was so brave and so strong,” said Sanfratello.

The incident has also sparked a new friendship between Sanfratello and Basiks. The two had never met prior, as Basiks is new to the neighborhood. Sanfratello called her a hero.

“For her to jump in and not worry about herself and save my daughter’s life, there’s no words. I can’t express my gratitude to her for that enough,” said Sanfratello.

Amber Basiks and boyfriend Don Tegt pose with Makyia Howard following the dog attack. The...
Amber Basiks and boyfriend Don Tegt pose with Makyia Howard following the dog attack. The couple helped pull Makyia from the dog, applied pressure to her bleeding wounds, and calmed her as first responders were on their way.(Anisa Sanfratello)

Sanfratello is consulting with an attorney but believes there are “no criminal charges” that she will “be able to pursue,” meaning she will likely be responsible for all medical bills.

Sanfratello and Makyia’s father have started a GoFundMe to help support themselves financially as they prepare for Makyia’s on-going treatments.

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