GRAPHIC: Girl, 9, mauled by 3 dogs from Okla. animal rescue while riding bike

WANETTE, Okla. (KFOR/CNN) - A 9-year-old girl from Oklahoma is recovering from dog bites and severe cuts she received when three dogs escaped a nearby animal shelter and attacked her.

Investigators say the 9-year-old victim will likely need dozens of stitches, and she could have lasting nerve damage that could affect her mobility. (Source: Family photos/KFOR/Tribune/CNN)

Investigators say the 9-year-old told them she was riding her bike Tuesday evening in Wanette, Oklahoma, when three dogs came out of nowhere and attacked.

When a Pottawatomie County deputy arrived at the girl’s house, she was huddled in her mother’s arms, covered in a blanket. He lifted the blanket to find the girl was covered in “dog bites and several severe lacerations,” according to court documents.

Investigators say the 9-year-old will likely need dozens of stitches, and she could have lasting nerve damage that could affect her mobility.

“It’s pretty tough,” Sheriff Mike Booth said. “Even as long as you’ve been doing what I’ve been doing, it’s pretty tough to see and understand and know what that child went through.”

Booth says the dogs came from Forgotten Treasure Animal Rescue, which is new to the area. Two of them were rescue dogs, and the third was a family pet.

The owner told deputies the dogs would be euthanized.

The animal shelter asked for prayers for everyone involved in a Facebook post, saying they were fully cooperating with authorities. The dogs reportedly have never shown any signs of aggression. They broke out of their pen when no one was around, and the pen is no longer in use while it is being repaired.

Booth says incidents like these might be prevented if owners could be cited when their animals get loose. It would add incentive to keep pets safely locked up and provide funding for effective animal control.

In the meantime, Booth wants anyone who sees a loose animal to report it.

“We don't really have animal control laws out in the county,” he said. “The more reports that we have, the more ammunition we've got to go help to make changes.”

The sheriff says they will present charges to the district attorney but don’t know for sure whether charges will be filed.

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