Investigators still looking for handler of dog involved in attack on 3-year-old girl in Texas

SPRING, Texas -- The investigation into the handler of a dog seen wearing a service vest that bit a 3-year-old girl in Texas is underway and new surveillance video has been discovered.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said investigators know who the woman is, but they have not been able to make direct contact with her. Investigators are still gathering evidence but have reached out to the Harris County District Attorney's Office in the meantime.

This weekend, the Waldroup family said they took their 3-year-old daughter, Ronin, to the Loose Caboose, a restaurant in Texas. As the little girl entered the restaurant a few steps ahead of her family in the line to order food, the Waldroup family said a dog, described as a pit bull wearing a service vest, bit her face.

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The girl's family members want the dog's owner to take responsibility for what happened. ABC13's Mycah Hatfield shares their story in the video above. WARNING: Some of the images may be graphic.



As Cleveratta Gordon-Waldroup, the girl's mother, grabbed the child to assess her injuries, her father, James Waldroup, went after the dog's handler, who was leaving the premise.

In new surveillance video obtained by our sister station, ABC13, on Tuesday, the woman and the dog are seen walking down the sidewalk with the girl's father walking not far behind her.

The video does not include audio, but body language indicates an exchange between the two.

"There was an accident," James recalled saying to the dog's handler. "[I said,] 'You cannot leave. My daughter is bleeding in a restroom and you're running down the road.'"

The woman then got in a car with a man and left.

"This gentlemen comes up beside me and I realize he is about to get in the car with this lady and I yell at him, 'Are you truly going to get in this car and drive this lady away knowing there's an accident?'" James said.

Meanwhile, the Loose Caboose, where the incident took place, has received backlash since details of the incident emerged.

Texas law states that a person cannot be turned away from a public establishment because of their service animal.

"A public accommodation is allowed to ask two questions when it comes to a service dog: Is this a dog because of a disability and what tasks is the dog trained to perform?" said Paul Buescher with A Cause To Give Us Paws. "That's the only thing they are allowed to ask for. They aren't allowed to ask for proof of training or proof of certification or proof of disability."

State and federal certifications are not required to identify an animal as a service animal. They are intended for anyone who qualifies under the American with Disabilities Act.

Buescher said they work with dogs for a year to train them properly to handle any situation they might encounter in public. The dogs are trained to do specific tasks for their handlers, including opening and closing doors, retrieving things and turning lights on and off.

"Not all dogs are cut out to be service dogs," Buescher said. "They have to have a proper temperament. They have to have an aptitude for learning and they have to be non-reactive to a lot of different stimuli."

State law maintains that a person who misrepresents an animal as having service animal training is guilty of a misdemeanor. It is unclear if the dog involved in the attack was properly trained.

The incident remains under investigation.
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