ZAMBOANGA CITY—Nine-year old Marianne Gonzales was memorizing a prayer for her first communion as she walked just outside the house of Geolar Tan inside Summer Hill Subdivision in Barangay Pasonanca here on Monday, failing to notice a Belgian Malinois running toward her.
The dog leapt toward Marianne, sinking its fangs into the girl’s neck, the attack so sudden that the girl barely managed to shout for help.
Two more bites to Marianne’s face and nape and the girl was dead.
Marianne’s younger sister, seven-year-old Ellamarie, and her cousin, 12-year-old Maricel Pahamutang, witnessed the attack.
They could not, however, do anything but run home and seek help from Marianne’s mother, Mardelyn.
“We rushed to the area only to find my eldest daughter already lifeless,” said Mardelyn.
Mardelyn and neighbors brought Marianne to the Western Mindanao Medical Center, where the girl was declared dead.
Ryan Gonzales, Marianne’s father, told Inquirer that a caretaker in Tan’s house saw the attack but did not help.
Recounting witnesses’ accounts, Ryan said the caretaker dragged Marianne to the main road and ran back into Tan’s house to get a bigger collar for the dog.
“They treated my girl like food left by a dog,” said Ryan. “They dumped her after she was bitten,” he said.
Efigenio Julian Jr., Pasonanca village chair, told Inquirer that Tan’s dog is “killer dog.”
“The way the dog bit the girl, I am sure it’s a killer dog, a dog trained to kill,” Julian said.
He said the subdivision was the girl’s shortcut to home from school.
Ryan said school children are used to passing by Tan’s house and it was the first time that the dog attacked a human.
Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, city police director, said Tan and the dog’s handler are being investigated. The dog is also now in police custody.
Local veterinarian Dr. Anton Lim said he is the one looking after the dog’s health and is surprised about the attack. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao