SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- We're now hearing from the family of the little girl who Springfield Police said was injured by their comfort dog at a Christmas party in forest park over the weekend.
The family spoke exclusively with Western Mass News about the incident and what they'd like to see done.
Scarlett Garcia's mother said the three-year-old girl is doing better and has a follow-up appointment later this week for the gash on her shoulder.
The family maintains that although the incident happened very quickly, they believe Scarlett was bitten by Mango, the Springfield Police comfort dog.
Saturday, Zoraida Bocachica said she brought her 3-year-old granddaughter Scarlett Garcia to the Christmas party at Forest Park.
Decked out in her most festive holiday outfit, Bocachica said she went to take a picture of Scarlett with Springfield Police comfort dog, Mango.
"It happened so quick I saw the dog-like open the mouth. She fell down when he grabbed her and I was going to grab her, she fell quick the floor I picked her up that’s when mango barked and he was trying to grab her I was holding her," Bocachica explained.
Bocachica said when she pulled Scarlett to the side, she saw blood.
"I wasn’t thinking about nothing my mind was clear on my granddaughter. I just lept straight to the emergency hospital," Bocachica explained.
As they were headed to the hospital, Bocachica face-timed Scarlett's mother, Katrina Martin to let her know what happened.
"The hospital, her pediatrician confirm it’s a bite mark," Martin said.
Martin showed Western Mass News some paperwork from the hospital, but the words 'dog bite" and "avulsion" are listed as what Scarlett received treatment for.
"The investigator said that they felt like the dog wanted the little bells on her shirt and they thought that she was a teddy bear," Martin noted.
Springfield Police said it was a scratch, not a bite, but told Western Mass News Hampden County sheriff's investigators are looking into the incident and into Mango's future as a comfort dog.
Police said the dog won't be put down and Martin said she doesn't hold any ill will towards Mango.
"Animals, trained or not, police dog or not, at the end of the day, you’re still an animal. You can’t talk, you can’t say how you feel," Martin explained.
Katrina said right now, they only action they want to take is whatever it takes to make sure Scarlett recovers.
[Is there any kind of lawsuit you want to take?]
"We are just letting her heal for right now. Like we’re worried about her. Everything else, all the negative stuff everyone saying 'the scratch, oh she’ll be fine,' this and that 'it could’ve been worse.' Yes, it could’ve been worse, but at the end of the day, she’s only three. She’s just a child," Martin noted.
Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh said in a statement: "The independent investigators from the sheriffs dept are looking into the facts. The police department provided witness accounts over the weekend. Anything else being reported on the news or social media is simply hearsay at this point."