Detroit — Eleven-year-old Monet Shaw was looking forward to her fifth-grade graduation ceremony and had just gotten her hair braided for the event when she was severely mauled in a pit bull attack.
She nearly lost a foot and an arm in the Saturday incident. Now, she’s recovering after undergoing another surgery Tuesday. While she was in surgery, two of her aunts collected her accolades and awards from the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Carleton Elementary School on her behalf.
The ceremony also included a moment of silence for Monet and her family.
Detroit police said the attack occurred at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at her aunt’s house while the girl was playing in the backyard. But an aunt, Rosland Akin, 32, said Monet was not in the backyard.
Akin said Monet went with a great-aunt to a cousin’s house on Beaconsfield to get her hair braided for the graduation. When they were finished, the two walked down the block to visit one of her great-aunt’s friends.
“She was getting her hair done on that block for this ceremony. One of her cousins braided her hair real pretty for free so she could look cute for her graduation,” said another aunt, Nina Akin, 34.
On their way to visit the friend, Monet and her great-aunt spotted the pit bull behind a screen door on the 10700 block of Beaconsfield and immediately ran past the home, Rosland Akin said.
“The pit bull was in the doorway, and when they ran, the pit bull pushed the screen down and pushed the auntie down, too. That’s how he attacked Monet,” Rosland Akin said. “A neighbor called the police and grabbed a shovel to get the dog off of Monet, but the shovel broke.”
Family members credit doctors at DMC Children’s Hospital for saving the girl’s injured arm and both of her feet.
“The dog bit the ligaments from her arm and her bone popped out of her arm ... when she went through surgery, they let us know that they had to take a vein from her leg and place it into her arm so blood can flow through,” Rosland Akin said.
“They also put a plate in her arm, but they couldn’t close it because she was so swollen from the impact.”
Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Elise Bennett said the family declined to speak to the media. The hospital had no comment on Monet’s condition.
The great-aunt attempted to stop the attack, but the dog then turned on her, wounding her leg. Reports and family said the woman has been released from the hospital.
Akin said Monet called her father when she was finished with her hair. He arrived promptly and partially saw the attack.
“It wasn’t just her arm, he bit both of her legs, that’s why both of the shoes were off her feet. She had to get stitches, but the hospital saved them both,” Nina Akin said.
The dog was taken to Detroit Animal Care & Control; its status was unclear Tuesday.
Detroit police Sgt. Adam Madera said authorities do not know if the animal has attacked before.
Police are aware of the dog’s owner and “as of now, the family has not pressed charges,” Madera said.
As for Monet’s condition, police have not received an update since Sunday, when doctors said Monet’s status looked optimistic.
The fifth-grade ceremony took place at East English Village Preparatory Academy on Tuesday morning. Nina Akin and Rosland Akin accepted Monet’s awards, including a 21st Century College Scholarship.