BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - A Boynton Beach mother is hoping for a full recovery for her two year old daughter after an apparent attack by a pit bull. The toddler is now out of the hospital. Her family says it has been difficult to heal when what happened was so unexpected and so violent.
When little Shelby Churey looks in the mirror, what does she see? "Her looking in the mirror and making a 'monster face'. She calls herself a 'monster face'," said her mother, Michelle Churey. Stitches and scarring mark one side of the 2-year-old's face, all the result of a series of bites by a dog named 'Ice', her mother says.
"The dog jumped up and just bit her in the face." Shelby's mother says the toddler was sitting on her grandfather's lap last month, holding a squeeze toy, when the dog lunged past the toy and right toward Shelby's face. Photos taken at the emergency room showed the severity of Shelby's wounds.
"This is not my daughter," said her mother. "This is not a little bite on my daughter's face. My daughter's face is torn up."
'Ice' belonged to Shelby's uncle. A week after the incident, the family decided to euthanize the dog. "The dog just started acting a little different," said Churey. "Just started growling at people."
But the Churey's still have a pit bull of their own, named 'Sky'. A different dog, with a very different temperament than 'Ice', Churey says. She has heard stories about this kind of breed before.
"It's horrible and it's all pit bulls." As a trained paramedic, she has even seen first-hand a number of severe dog bite cases just like her daughter's. "Recently, I've seen a lot of people having dog bites in their face and in their neck," she said. Still, she believes individual dogs - not entire breeds - can become a problem.
The pain and the scars remain after a moment that this mother and daughter can't forget - even if they want to.
"She's very tough. She's a tough little girl."
Shelby's family is raising funds for future facial surgeries, which the family's insurance does not cover.
On Saturday, December 29, a benefit will be held for Shelby at Benny's Boynton Grill (Benny's Ice House) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The eatery is located at 9803 South Military Trail in Boynton Beach. An account for Shelby Churey has also been set up at any Bank of America location.