A four-year-old girl who was bitten on the forehead by a pit bull in December is keeping a positive outlook about dogs during her recovery, but her father is still waiting for the city to act on calls for stricter regulations for dog owners.
Maria Geertsma was visiting a home in Cole Harbour when she was attacked. The bite left a large circular scar just above her eye and caused nerve damage, but her father said Maria has made significant progress.
"That nerve has healed itself enough that she can move her eyebrows," said a relieved Martin Geertsma. "Maria’s been pretty good about it. She knows that we have to rub her scar every day."
Maria spent several days in the hospital after the initial attack. Her father said the dog, an American Staffordshire terrier, was unprovoked when it happened.
"In a way we want to just move on and be done with it," he said. "On the other hand, it would be nice to see some sort of progression with some sort of new roles for minimum training for breeds that are capable of something like this."
Call for action
Initially after the attack, Geertsma demanded the dog be put down. The animal is currently in custody as the case works its way through the courts.
"We are aware that the owner has claimed that she is not responsible for this," he said. He hopes the animal is undergoing training while in custody.
Geertsma said in the days following the attack he heard from members of HRM council about possible changes to regulations. But he feels the case has fallen off the radar.
"In fact, no one's called or anything like that from the city."
Geertsma wants the city add new regulations for dog ownership.
"Dog ownership in general should have some sort of requirement for basic training."
Meanwhile, his four-year-old said she still loves dogs and hopes to own one in the future. For now, she hopes her attacker is getting better.
"I wish that dog won’t bite me anymore because he’ll turn into a nice dog," Maria said.