WYATT, MO (KFVS) - Two Mississippi County residents face felony charges after a dog attack that left a young girl hospitalized and her mother badly injured, according to the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department.
Richie Lee Davis, 43, and Linda Lynn Teague, also 43, both of Wyatt, MO, are each charged with one count of assault 2nd degree, a class C felony punishable upon conviction by up to seven years in the Department of Corrections.
Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore said the investigation began Sunday evening when Deputy David Watkins was notified of a pit bull attack in Wyatt, Mo.
When he arrived at the Sikeston hospital, Deputy Watkins met with a teenager whom had reportedly been mauled by a large pit bull, and the teen's mother, whom had also been bitten while defending her daughter from that attack.
During the course of the investigation, Deputy Watkins got statements from both victims, as well as from neighbors who each confirmed the assault was unprovoked.
According to the Deputy's report, the dog has a history of aggression and has previously attacked, or attempted to attack, several other Wyatt residents.
Despite those prior complaints, the animal's owners, Richie Davis and Linda "Boogie" Teague, continued to allow the dog to roam free throughout the community.
The report alleges that as pet owners, Richie Davis and Linda Teague failed to provide adequate control over their animal; and as a result, an innocent young girl was mauled and her mother was very seriously injured.
"Pet owners are responsible for their pet's actions," Sheriff Moore said, "and there's a lot people can do to avoid putting their pet, and others, in this situation."
Sheriff Moore credited the heroic actions taken by the girl's mother for saving her daughter's life.
As of press time, Davis and Teague both remain behind bars with their bonds set at $25,000 each. All parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
People in one Mississippi County community say they're fearful every time they walk out of their house.
"It's just terrible so many people out there scared because of the dogs," said Donald Burcks.
Burcks lives in Wyatt and said dogs have attacked a few people in the area.
"You can't get off the porch, you can't get to your yard, you can't even walk to the store because of the dogs," said Burcks.
He said one of the dogs bit him and now his granddaughter is scared to leave the porch.
"I was just walking down the road going to the store, and he was underneath the trailer, I heard him barking, I walked by and he just waited for me, got behind me and bit me on the calf of my leg," said Burcks.
One woman said a dog pinned her to the ground.
Burcks said when people go outside, many carry sticks to fight off the dogs.
"They usually when they walk around town, they carry a club or something to protect themselves," said Burcks.