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Londonderry dad says his daughter's OK, but dog that bit her has to go

Union Leader Correspondent

April 02. 2013 6:31PM
Sarah Stewart, 6, a first grader at South Londonderry Elementary School, is recuperating at home after being bitten by her neighbor's pit bull, Oliver, on Easter Sunday. Sarah's bite injuries are severe and she'll need to see a plastic surgeon once her wounds heal a bit. Her father, Greg Stewart said the family has a great relationship with their neighbors and don't have any hard feelings following the incident, as long as Oliver doesn't return to the neighborhood. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)

LONDONDERRY - The father of a 6-year-old bitten by a pit bull mix Easter Sunday said his neighbor's dog has to go.

"None of us want him back in the neighborhood," Greg Stewart, the father of four young children, said. "There's just too many kids on this street."

The Stewarts have notified their Century Village condo association to make sure Oliver won't return. The dog remains in quarantine at the Londonderry Police Department as police await validation of the animal's vaccination status.

South Elementary first-grader Sarah Stewart said she was reaching for a jar of bubble solution Sunday afternoon when she tripped over Oliver's leash, landing on top of the dog.

"I sort of flipped over," the little girl recalled Tuesday, her voice breaking. "And when I opened my eyes, he was biting at my face."

Sarah, who was treated at the Elliot Urgent Care in Londonderry, then at Manchester's Elliot Hospital, suffered a deep gash on her temple, stretching across her left eyebrow. The wound will eventually need to be attended to by a plastic surgeon.

"Fortunately, it missed her eyes and her throat," her father, Greg Stewart, said Tuesday. "She's still here with us. But there are so many stitches on Sarah right now, we don't really know just how many there are."

Greg Stewart said the presence of the dog has worried him and others in the neighborhood.

"I always told the kids to stay away from Oliver," Stewart said of the black pit bull mix owned by neighbors Lisa and John Palmieri.

He said the Stewart family considers the Palmieris good friends, and don't hold any hard feelings.

Stewart said Lisa Palmieri, who was unable to be reached for comment and didn't answer her door on Monday or Tuesday, has assured Sarah that Oliver is gone for good.

Meanwhile, the Stewarts are hoping Sarah doesn't have to go through a series of rabies shots.

Sarah will miss at least several days of school this week, her parents said, as she recuperates on the living room couch, the family's Labrador retriever, Fred, by her side.

"We were kind of worried she'd be afraid of all dogs after this happened," her father said, scratching Fred's yellow head.

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