The Port of Portland said the attack occurred on Dec. 18 around 9:15 a.m. near gate C-7.
The Port said the girl was petting the dog while waiting for their flights when the child was attacked. The bites were to her face.
The 5-year-old was taken to the hospital.
The dog was taken to the Multnomah County Animal Shelter and placed in a 10-day quarantine -- standard protocol after a dog bite, a shelter representative told KATU.
The county shelter identified the dog as a brown, 48-pound American Pit Bull mix. The age of the dog was not known.
Port of Portland police cited the dog owner, who lives in Portland, for failing to crate her dog.
Under airport rules, all animals, with the exception of service dogs, must be kept within their travel carriers while inside the airport terminal. Outside the terminal building, all pets must be leashed.
Enforcing these rules, the Port said, can be difficult because officers are only allowed to ask if the dog is a service animal and what task it is trained to perform.
The traveler does not have to provide documentation, nor does the dog have to wear a special vest. They said each airline has different rules for pets once the animal is on board.
The Port said the woman's dog was not a service animal, warranting a citation.
I'll bet this woman had a fake service dog vest/collar on this mauler. She may even have some letter from a doctor which says this person needs to have this dog with her at all times or else she has panic attacks... you can purchase these letters online. Doesn't make them legitimate. Congress needs to do something because more and more people are breaking the law and pretending their dogs/animals are service pets when they're not.
According to the county shelter, the pit bull remains in quarantine, even though the 10-day rule lapsed, because the investigation is ongoing.
* * * * * *
Dog owner Lisa Wooden was traveling to California with her dog "Rooster," a 3-year-old rescue. She is not bringing her dog on board. She feels it's too risky.
"He has never bitten anybody, but I think that this is a stressful environment," Wooden told KATU. "So, for him it is probably best to go underneath the plane."
Wooden says her dog is trained, but knows it's possible he could react.
"I think a lot of people don't understand that their dogs aren't well-trained and they humanize them too much," Wooden said. "They bring them into environments that they shouldn't."
Parent Chris Norvelle says he knows kids can be unpredictable, and dogs around unpredictable kids can act out of character. He says he usually asks pet owners if their dog is kid-friendly.
"Some dogs are a little more testy around kids," he said. "Kids like to grab the dog, hang onto them."
Norvelle was surprised to learn dogs can travel almost at free will in the airport.
"I'm just surprised that you can go on a plane with the dog, not in a carrier," he said. "I think you should have to show something, you know, a card."
A request for comment from the dog owner went unanswered.
(KATU - Dec 31, 2017)