The woman whose two pit bulls DeKalb County police said viciously attacked an 8-year-old girl has apologized to the victim and her family.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones was the only reporter at the courthouse as Twyann Vaughn pleaded not guilty to two counts of reckless conduct and two counts of failure to inoculate her dogs against rabies.
After court, Vaughn expressed remorse about the attack that forced doctors to amputate Erin Ingram's arm below the elbow.
"I'm just very, very sorry that it all happened," Vaughn told Jones as she walked briskly away from the courthouse.
DeKalb County police said Vaughn's pit bulls got out of her home in March and began attacking Erin in her Lithonia neighborhood. Neighbors tried to stop the attack to no avail. A police officer arrived and shot and killed one of the dogs after it refused to stop attacking the child. The other dog then ran back home. Vaughn, who is out on bond, had more to say to Erin and her family.
"I'm just very, very sorry that it all happened and I just want to express that to the family. I hope Erin's doing well. I really do," she said.
Erin's parents attended Vaughn's arraignment hearing. They said their daughter is still getting physical therapy and still suffers from the emotional toll of the attack.
"She has bad dreams and just dealing with stuff. Still just scared to go outside and stuff like that. Just scared to sit on the porch and do different things outdoors, period," her father Tommie Ingram said.
Ingram also said despite her injuries, Erin is doing well in school and making A's and B's. As for Vaughn, he said he wants one thing. "Justice, plain as that," he said.
The Ingram’s have hired an attorney. Kevin Adamson said he is exploring a civil lawsuit but is waiting for the criminal side of the case to run its course. He said the attack has traumatized the community and more importantly traumatized Erin.
"It should not have happened. No. It should not have happened. It is my contention that it should not have happened," he said.
The chief assistant solicitor general said there are laws in place that govern the restraining of animals. Nicole Marchand said for some reason that isn't happening. "I think we've seen enough of these cases to know that there is a problem. Simply by restraining their dogs, I think that that would make a huge difference," Marchand said.
As Vaughn walked away from the courthouse, she once again explained how sorry she is and how she thinks about Erin. “My prayers are with her every single day," Vaughn said. She will be back in court Dec. 16.
Update: January 9, 2012 - The following article is from The Champion:
Dog owner received 16-month jail sentence for pit bull attack
A Lithonia woman was sentenced on Jan. 6 to 16 months in jail for a pit bull attack in which a little girl lost part of an arm.
Twyann Vaughn, the owner of the two dogs that attacked the girl, was convicted of two counts each of reckless conduct, violation of the vicious dog act, and violation of the rabies ordinance.
Vaughn was sentenced to 16 months in jail, three years of probation, 240 hours of community service and restitution. Upon release of jail, Vaughn has been ordered to become an advocate for better animal control.
The victim, Erin Ingram, a Rock Chapel Elementary School student, who was 8 years old at the time, was attacked by the two pit bulls while playing in her neighborhood on March 9, 2010.