An 8-year-old girl is recovering at Memorial Hospital after being bitten by two dogs in her hometown of New Athens. A neighbor came to the girl's aid with a baseball bat, according to police.
St. Clair County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident that happened at 6 p.m. in the 600 block of South Street, because the two German Shepherds that bit the girl are owned by former New Athens Police Chief Dallas Hill.
Master Sgt. Alan Haake said one of the dogs is a trained police dog, but neither dog works for New Athens Police Department. Both are Hill's personal dogs.
Haake said the girl and a friend were walking down the street when the dogs approached them.
"They were just playing and the two dogs started sniffing at them," he explained. "One little girl they walked away from and they attacked the other little girl for whatever reason."
The girl suffered, Haake said, "serious" bite marks to her leg, back and chest and scratch marks to her back.
It's unclear how both dogs escaped from the yard they were being kept in, Haake said.
The dogs remain in the custody of Hill. As of 10 p.m. Thursday, the dogs were being kept in their kennels in the basement of Hill's home, Haake said.
St. Clair County Animal Control is expected to take custody of the dogs Friday morning, Haake said. Both dogs' vaccinations are up to date, according to information Hill provided to police.
Hill received an ordinance violation for dogs running at large. He was not home at the time of the incident.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.