Melissa Rollins was playing basketball with her 13-year-old brother, Kevin, last Thursday outside their home on Rosser Pittman Road when five dogs – three adults and two pups – emerged from a nearby field. One of the larger dogs lunged at Melissa and began dragging her to a nearby woods line.
"The other two dogs were sitting there taking bites out of her," Kevin recalled.
He ran after his sister and used his shoes to beat the dogs away.
"(I) took my shoe off and threw it at two dogs, and then I started beating the other one, and they just kept going at her,” he said. "Then, I ran up to the dog and hit him, like, sideways and knocked his jaw."
Melissa's jeans were ripped to shreds, and she suffered severe gashes on her legs, hand and neck.
She had to undergo surgery at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill to close all of her wounds and spent three days in the hospital before returning home Sunday.
"I just want these stitches out of me," she said.
Melissa and Kevin said they saw a pickup truck drop off some dogs in a nearby field about an hour before the attack. Officials say it's common for people to abandon unwanted pets in rural areas, which angers Melissa's grandfather.
"You can't just take an animal, whether it's a cat or vicious dog, and just drop it off on the environment and the community," Eugene Cook said. “They should think about their actions. I mean, this community is full of children.”
Harnett County Animal Control Supervisor Tino Medina said he doesn't think the person in the pickup truck abandoned the dogs that attacked Melissa. Neighbors reported problems with dogs before last week, he said.
Animal control officers set traps in the area late last week, and one adult and four pups caught in the traps were euthanized, Medina said.
The dog that attacked Melissa was an 80-pound German shepherd and chow mix, and Medina said he thinks two more adult German shepherds remain in the area. The dogs have been wild for some time and likely attacked Melissa for food, he said.