Mother bites off pit bull's ear to save toddler

Mackenzie Camp and her mother, Chelsi, before and after the dog attack.
Mackenzie Camp and her mother, Chelsi, before and after the dog attack. Photo: Facebook

When faced with the horror of her daughter being savagely attacked by a dog, Chelsi Camp did what she believes any mother would do. In a move that no doubt save her little girl's life, she launched herself at an attacking pit bull, biting off its ear and shoving her fist down the dog's throat.

Chelsi has now spoken for the first time about the vicious March 31 mauling which left two-year-old Mackenzie with severe head and facial injuries. 

"You do whatever you can," Chelsi told US news website KHOU.com. "I don't have physical strength at my side. The dog came up and he was just curious. When he smelled her, that's when you saw it flip, because I think he smelled my dog on her."

Mackenzie in hospital with the 911 dispatcher and police officers who came to assist her and her mother Chelsi (standing ...
Mackenzie in hospital with the 911 dispatcher and police officers who came to assist her and her mother Chelsi (standing at right). Photo: Facebook

When the dog, which Chelsi had been minding for her boyfriend at her home in Alvin, Texas, started attacking the toddler, the 23-year-old mum had no option but to jump between the animal and her child. 

She pushed her arm down the dog's throat and clamped her teeth down on the animal's ear so hard that it was totally severed. She also managed to make a frantic call to 911.

"I only know to fight - how else do you get somebody to stop?" Chelsi said. "I mean, I would do the same thing with a human being."

The first police to arrive at the home were horrified by what they saw. 

"It was a very bad scene," Officer Reagan Pena from the League City Police Department told KHOU.com. "Obviously she was trying to prevent the dog from attacking her child."

The officers found the pair cowering in the bathroom with the dog still attacking them. One officer shot the pit bull, so others could begin to help the mother and daughter. 

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The dog did not die immediately, but was later euthanised by the authorities.

Little Mackenzie underwent several hours of surgery to repair a fracture to her skull. She is now out of intensive care but will face more surgery as her recovery continues.

Chelsi was also injured as she tried to save her daughter, suffering bites to her arms and hands.

The two police officers who were first to arrive at the scene of the attack, and dispatcher Rhonda Darrow, who handled the emergency call on the day of the attack, visited Chelsi and Mackenzie in hospital recently.

"Rarely do we get to know what happens after the emergency response is over. And there are some calls that haunt us for the rest of our careers," the League City Police Department posted on its Facebook page.

A Facebook update from Chelsi's aunt Sheryl Camp on April 6 read: "I'm pleased to say she doesn't remember a thing. It's amazing what they were able to do to put her back together. As she grows these scars will fade. If they don't, she is still beautiful, like her mother."

The family has launched a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe to help pay for the toddler's ongoing surgery cost.