What we know so far about the fatal dog attack in Southeast Oak Cliff

A 4-year-old girl died in hospital over the weekend after being attacked by at least one dog inside a southeast Oak Cliff home.

The victim’s mother said Monday she was devastated by the attack, and thinks it could have been avoided.

Police and the Department of Family and Protective Services are still investigating the incident.

Here’s what we know, what we’ve heard and what we don’t know.

What we know

The attack happened Saturday morning on the 5600 block of Bluffman Drive near Bonnie View Road. Police were called shortly before 8 a.m. to respond to the attack.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the 4-year-old victim as Lea Freeman. Tiara Freeman, 23, the child’s mother, said The Dallas Morning News that her one-year-old daughter was also inside the house during the attack, but was not injured.

Her third child, nine months old, was also living with Freeman in the home in the months leading up to the attack, but she was with her father that day at a different residence.

Freeman said she and her three daughters moved into the house in March and lived with two other people, one of whom owns three dogs. She said she was homeless before moving into the house.

Tiffani Butler, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said Monday that Freeman’s one-year-old daughter is staying with another family member. Butler said the family had been “involved” with child protective services in the past.

Dallas police said “a dog” was involved in the attack and was in the custody of Dallas Animal Services. Michael Dennis, a Dallas police spokesman, said Sunday that multiple dogs were recovered from the property where Lea Freeman was attacked.

No arrests have been made in connection with the attack, Dennis said in an email Monday.

Marlo Clingman, a spokeswoman for Dallas Animal Services, said Monday that three dogs from the property were in custody.

The victim’s family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the girl’s funeral. By Tuesday afternoon, the online campaign had raised over $3,000.

What we heard

Tiara Freeman and a neighbor who called 911 to report the attack said they believe the three dogs were involved in the attack. They said the three dogs are pit bulls who have escaped into the neighborhood and exhibited aggressive behavior towards people on several occasions.

The 911 caller’s sister, Lorie Pennington, said she contacted the city’s animal services multiple times to raise concerns about the dogs becoming loose. On one occasion, she said one of the dogs tried to attack her 15-year-old niece.

Freeman said no adults were inside the home when the attack happened. She said she felt like a woman she lived with who she called “Simone” was watching her children while she went to the store. She said she was not informed of the attack until she returned from the store.

The victim’s grandmother said WFAA-TV (Channel 8) that they had contacted child protective services with concerns about the living conditions of Freeman’s children. Other family members told the news station that the victim’s mother had mental health issues and wanted her children to live with her grandparents.

What we don’t know

Dallas police did not say how many dogs were involved in the fatal attack. Dallas Animal Services declined to answer questions related to the number of calls received from the neighborhood about dogs loosening up in the neighborhood.

The city’s animal services did not specify the breed of the dogs.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has not said what led to their involvement with Freeman and her children before the dog attack.

‘I’m devastated’: Mother of 4-year-old girl who died after dog attack speaks out


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Jennifer R. Strohm