A 4-year-old Virginia toddler is safe at home and recovering after he was attacked and mauled by the family dog while trying to go the bathroom during a Memorial Day celebration.
The dog caught Sean Fitz as he walked inside his house during a family cookout and ripped off most of the left side of the boy’s face, along with his ear, severing several nerves.
Samantha Fitz, Sean’s mother, told NBC 29 the toddler can’t feel the pain in his face because of the severed nerves.
“He had to have a metal plate in his jaw where it was fractured and some staples as well. It’s summertime, he can’t go swimming, he can’t go fishing. You know, when we take him outside we have to keep him out of direct sunlight to make sure the scarring won’t get worse.
The family has started a GoFundMe account and hopes to raise $10,000 to pay for the toddler’s medical expenses, which are continuing to add up.
The 9-hour surgery required to repair Sean’s face left him with Bell’s Palsy, a drooping of one side of his face because of a weakening of the muscles there.
The trauma of the dog mauling has left the toddler with post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, and night tremors along with his physical injuries.
Three times a week, his family must make the 40-minute drive to Virginia Medical Center, where doctors continue the recovery process. The toddler must wear bandages around his face during the day, and he faces 3 major upcoming surgeries to repair the damage, including skin grafts and nerve repair.
Fitz told WSLS10, her toddler son will never recover fully physically, but she hopes the child’s spirit will remain strong.
“It kills me to look at pictures and know that he’s never going to look the way that he did before. I’m not going to have the same child that I had before.”
Sean isn’t the only toddler to have been attacked and mauled by the family dog this year.
In April, another 4-year-old toddler was attacked and mauled by a family dog, an adopted pit bull, suffering injuries to his face, cheekbone, jaw, nose, and eye sockets, according to the Inquisitr.
The attack was only stopped after a family friend threw hot coffee on the dog. It has since been euthanized.
Experts recommend supervising young children around dogs, especially during loud events like July 4th fireworks.
[Photo by Matt Cardy / Getty Images]