WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IMAGE IS GRAPHIC IN NATURE
Ronin Waldroup, 3, was waiting in line to order food with her family at the Loose Caboose Restaurant in Spring, Texas, when another patron’s pit bull mauled her face.
The dog was wearing a service animal vest and to make matters worse — the dog owner’s reportedly fled the scene. The incident was captured on surveillance video. Ronin was just a few feet ahead her family during the incident on January 9 when the dog came up to her. The animal, who was unprovoked, went over to the girl and bit her face.
Witnesses said the dog shook Ronin before its owner eventually pulled the animal off of her. Once Ronin was free, her mother, Cleveratta Gordon-Waldroup, tried to assess the damage. In the interim, the footage showed Ronin’s father, James Waldroup, following the dog’s owner as she walked away.
“There was an accident,” James recalled to the news outlet that he said to the dog’s owner. “[I said] ‘You cannot leave. My daughter is bleeding in a restroom and you’re running down the road.'”
The woman proceeded to get into a car and drove away with a man.
“This gentlemen comes up beside me and I realize he is about to get in the car with this lady and I yell at him, ‘Are you truly going to get in this car and drive this lady away knowing there’s an accident?'” James recalled.
Thankfully, the dad was able to give the license plate number to authorities. The toddler was immediately taken to a hospital where she received 15 stitches on her face. Her mother confirmed that she will need plastic surgery to help repair the disfigurement.
Two days after the incident, an anonymous tipster reported that the dog’s owner was Jennifer Romano, 46. Police used the license plate number James provided to track down the man driving the car. And when questioned, he admitted to leaving the restaurant with the dog owner.
On February 8, Romano was charged with felony injury to a child and tampering with physical evidence.
Since the incident, Ronin’s family has started a GoFundMe page that has raised over $23K toward her medical expenses.
“I’m begging for justice for my little girl,” her mom wrote on the page. “Ronin is 3 years old and had to get 15 stitches in her face!!!”
The family has also plan to contribute a portion of the money to “changing the laws for service animals and training.”
“We love service animals of all breeds and sizes but as we are going through this we are finding more information that just about anyone can purchase a service animal vest online or wherever to have their pet out in public,” the mom continued. “Whether we have to go through the courts system or take it all the way up to the lawmakers we know that with proper legal action we can change the course of action for future circumstances,” she wrote.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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