CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A young girl was viciously attacked by her neighbor's dog, but the owner says his dog was just being protective.
13-year-old Rebecca Harris suffered bites and scratches to her arm and stomach after Tuesday's attack.
Rebecca told NBC12, when she got off the school bus Tuesday, she stopped by a friend's house.
According to Rebecca, that's when the friend's 2-and-a-half year old pit bull escaped from the home and lunged at her, first grabbing her stomach with its teeth, then her arm.
The owner was able to pry the dog off once - but the second time, the pit bull held on, leaving deep wounds requiring stitches.
Rebecca and her family are waiting for the swelling to go down for a doctor to determine if there is nerve and muscle damage.
"I still feel safe in this neighborhood," said Rebecca. "I don't blame the dog, I blame the owners."
The owners of the pit bull didn't want to go on camera. Off-camera, the owner told NBC12 that the pit bull attacked because he felt threatened when Rebecca ran toward their front door.
In a Facebook post, the owner's daughter says "...me and my [boyfriend] told everybody to back up but...Rebecca didn't so my dog ran out the door and attacked her. I feel bad for Rebecca but it was her fault."
The dog's owners are facing criminal charges and are due in court February 28.
The pit bull is being held at Chesterfield Animal Control.