When a mother and her two young children looked outside, they spotted their elderly neighbor confusedly wandering on their property. As the family was trying to help the elderly woman, the mother and her little ones were viciously attacked.
Upon seeing their elderly neighbor with dementia on their property in Bonneau, South Carolina, a family set out to help the confused woman. Bethany Hastings and her children, 4-year-old Lainey and 2-year-old Wesley Bayles, hopped in their golf cart and gave the neighbor a ride back to her home.
After they arrived at the elderly woman’s property, Bethany saw something move out of the corner of her periphery. The neighbor’s pit bull had gotten loose and was heading straight for them. The dog leaped onto the cart, brutally attacking the family as they scrambled to get away from the gnashing teeth.
The dog first lunged at 2-year-old Wesley, tearing into him as the little boy screamed, WCSC reports. The dog then turned his attention to Lainey, focusing his attack on the little girl’s face and head. Bethany tried to grab the dog in a bid to save her children. It was then that the pit bull turned his attention toward the mother.
“First he got my brother, and then second he got me and then third he got my mom,” Lainey said.
Bethany took the dog to the ground, placing the full force of her weight on him as she struggled to restrain him. The heroic mother managed to hold him down for 15 “terrifying” minutes until another neighbor heard her screams and rushed over to help.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Bethany said. “If I had let go, he would have gotten me or them again.”
The neighbor grabbed the children, placed them into his truck, and helped Bethany with the dog. Within five minutes, emergency medical support arrived and transported the family to the hospital for treatment.
Bethany and Wesley were treated for minor injuries. However, Lainey sustained the most severe wounds, requiring a 4-day hospital stay, two of which were spent in pediatric intensive care. Doctors said she would have to undergo several surgical procedures in the future.
“They hadn’t quite seen anything like that before to that extent, with that much damage,” Bethany said.
The family opened a Go Fund Me account to raise money for the medical expenses for all three victims as well as Lainey’s future surgeries after Bethany was forced to take a leave of absence from her job.
Since the attack, the family has been afraid to go outside. The children have suffered severe trauma, which will undoubtedly take years to overcome. Bethany hopes that their story will serve as a reminder to dog owners to keep animals that have an aggressive tendency constrained.
“She’s in karate and tee-ball, so I thought she’d wind up at the hospital maybe for a broken bone or something crazy like that, but never this; never,” Bethany said. “After that, you realize just how vulnerable you are to everything.”
For this family, the road to recovery is a long one. Their physical wounds will likely heal long before their psychological ones. Unfortunately, Lainey would still require further surgeries to repair the extensive damage to her face, which unfortunately came from trying to do a good deed for their neighbor.
The more people share this family’s story, the more money will be raised to help Lainey obtain these surgeries, which will not only restore her facial features but enhance her quality of life. Hopefully, this family will at least find some relief from their financial burden. And, perhaps more importantly, we hope it will be a reminder to other dog owners that such a senseless tragedy can be prevented if the appropriate responsibility is taken with their pet.