The 6-year-old girl who was attacked by a dog on Sunday has died, the Duval County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed with First Coast News on Wednesday. Sheree Smith says her daughter, Jaelah Smith, died from her injuries Tuesday night just before 7 o'clock after being placed on life support.
Jaelah was transported to a Jacksonville hospital with severe life-threatening injuries after she was bitten by what "appears to be a Pit Bull mixed breed," the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reported. She was unresponsive when police arrived.
JSO said the attack happened Sunday around 10 a.m. at a home in the 2700 block of Herrick Dr. in Arlington.
JSO said the dog who bit the girl wasn't the family's pet, but rather a dog the family was watching for its owner who was on vacation.
In a text message, Jaelah's mom said, "She loved everything a child should. Her favorite toy was her Minnie Mouse teddy bear and she loved teddy bears." She went on to say that Jaelah loved God and wanted to work at Disney World and be a princess when she grew up.
"She loved flowers in her hair and loved dancing and singing and just being happy, never sad. This child was truly an angel on earth and made an everlasting impression on anyone who met her I am so blessed God chose me to be her mom."
“She fought hard and I’m proud of her," said Smith.
Neighbors call Smith a "good mom" and said she was protective of her children.
Some neighbors, like Kathy Dean who lives next door, say they've experienced close calls between their own children and dogs.
"He just reached over and bit his arm. It can happen so fast, in an instant, and I was sitting right there," said Dean.
City animal control quarantined the dog. According to Florida law, the dog's owners can file for a hearing with the city to prevent the dog from being euthanized.
JSO, the city of Jacksonville and the Department of Children and Families have all launched their own investigations.
No word if any charges have been filed.
DCF sent First Coast News a statement saying:
We are grieving the tragic loss of this child, and extend our sympathies to all those who knew and loved her. The department has opened a child death investigation and will continue to support and provide any available resources to the family during this difficult time.
This child was not known to the child welfare system and all details regarding child death investigations are confidential per section 39.202, Florida Statutes. Pending the outcome of the investigation, a report will be posted to the department’s website.
There is a GoFundMe set up for Jaelah's family which you can donate to here.