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Anderson woman's face mauled in attack by neighbor's dog

An Anderson woman is considering legal action, after a dog attack at her neighbor's apartment that took off part of her face.

An Anderson woman is considering legal action, after a dog attack at her neighbor's apartment that took off part of her face. 

Betsy Sampson's face was ripped open in a dog attack.

"It makes me sick to my stomach," said Sampson’s friend, Angel McCormick. “Her face, she's gonna have to live with this the rest of her life."

"I didn’t know how bad it was at first," Sampson said. “Then I thought 'My God! That dog took half my face!’" 

Five days later, Sampson still has trouble talking. She says she’s in pain and in fear – of showing her face in public and of encountering another dog.

"Because they can turn like that in a heartbeat," Sampson said.

Thursday, she was at her neighbor's apartment helping with their laundry. She says she'd asked that their pit bull, Lucy, who she's played with in the past, be put in another room.

But they didn't move the dog.

Last thing Sampson knew, the dog was on the couch. But then she says with no apparent reason, it attacked.

"I bent over to get the laundry and the next thing I know, here's the dog attacking me in the face," Sampson recalled. "I screamed bloody murder."

"She was attacked out of nowhere," McCormick added.

Betsy is legally blind in her left eye and has been since birth. The dog attack was on the left side of her face.

"So I couldn't see him coming at me in the first place," Sampson said. "If I could have seen it, maybe I could have moved away from it, but I didn't even see it." 

At the hospital, she underwent surgeries to repair muscle and nerves.

Police and animal control officers came to the hospital, too. After their investigation, police say the dog's owners won't face charges. Police say they don't know enough about how the owners trained Lucy and investigators say the owners didn't show intent that they meant to harm their neighbor.

"We have to show intent. We have to prove that. And in this situation, it seems like that would be very difficult to do," explained Anderson Police Maj. Joel Sandefur. "There doesn't seem to be any evidence in taking that type of action in this case."

Lucy the dog is under a ten-day quarantine at the animal shelter. Police say that's because her owners couldn't prove she had rabies shots, which weren't current. They'll face a fine for that, ranging from $100-500.

Meanwhile, Sampson is considering a possible lawsuit against the owners.

She says the only dog she trusts now is her own – "Chili" - the black Lab service dog, who keeps her safe.

"I don't care if they're big dogs, little dogs, I don't wanna be around them right now," Sampson said. "And if a person asks to put the dog away, please do it."

Sampson will meet with her doctors next week to see if she needs any more surgeries. 

Meanwhile, officials at the animal shelter where Lucy remains quarantined say she's shown no aggressive behavior at all and that she's been a "lovely dog." But she may have to stay at the shelter permanently, as police say her owners' apartment complex won't let her back after the attack.