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Dog that mauled toddler should have been turned in after prior attack

Over the summer, a dog belonging to Amber R. Lewis of Buffalo attacked a neighbor's dog and she was ordered to surrender the animal, according to police.

She never did. And now police say that same dog mauled a 13-month-old toddler Lewis was baby-sitting over the weekend, leaving her hospitalized with various injuries, including a punctured skull.

Sunday's attack happened about 4 p.m. in a home on Watson Street, off Broadway.

Lewis, 30, was arrested Tuesday and charged with child endangerment, a misdemeanor. She was arraigned in Buffalo City Court on Wednesday and released on her own recognizance, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

Lewis owns three pit bulls, according to police, and two of them were seized after Sunday's attack.

Lewis gave the dog that mauled the toddler to a friend after the attack, police said. The dog, named Poppy, was seized at the neighbor's home. Another pit bull was seized at Lewis' home.

Police are attempting to locate her third pit bull.

While there were either two or three dogs in the home at the time of the attack, police at this point believe Poppy was the only one involved in Sunday's attack. The matter remains under investigation.

In August, a neighbor filed a complaint with the city animal control office after their dog was injured in an attack. No further details were available about the incident. The order to surrender the dogs was issued in September, police said.

A police official said animal control follows up on surrender orders. Animal control personnel are part of the city's Department of Public Works.

A city spokesman did not respond to questions about the procedure followed when an aggressive dog is ordered to be surrendered and what, if any, follow-up work is done to make sure an animal is turned over.

The spokesman also did not provide any details about what was done in this case. It was not immediately known what type of sanctions are possible when a person fails to surrender an animal.

In addition to the punctured skull, the child suffered cuts and bite marks to her face, head and stomach, according to authorities. She was taken to Oishei Children's Hospital. Police did not provide an update on her condition Thursday.

This isn't Lewis' first run-in with police. She was arrested Aug. 4 by Buffalo police when she was a passenger in a car pulled over near Emslie Street and Paderewski Drive. Officers found a loaded .380-caliber handgun under the front passenger seat of the vehicle, according to a report. She was one of four people arrested.

She's scheduled to appear Feb. 6 in Buffalo City Court on a marijuana possession violation and a felony weapons possession charge, according to court records.

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