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'It's not safe' | Mom speaks out after dog attacks her 10-year-old twice

The Zielke family chose their current home because of its big yard. Now, their daughter is terrified to leave their home.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn — If 10-year-old Kylie Zielke needs to leave the house, she makes her parents go outside first. She's now had two scary encounters with a neighbor's dog, according to her mom Jennifer.

"She's afraid and I feel like I would be lying if I told her that it's not going to happen again," Jennifer Zielke said. "I can't guarantee that that dog's not going to get out again."

In January, Jennifer said Kylie was playing at a neighbor's house when Blake, a tan and brown heeler type dog, escaped his enclosure in the back yard.

"The dog opened the door, chased my daughter down, and bit her under her left eye," Jennifer said. "She was treated at the urgent care... nobody ever showed up."

Credit: Jennifer Zielke

A Knox County Sheriff's Office incident report said that attack was never reported because Jennifer Zielke called the City of Knoxville's animal control number. The Zielke family lives in the Powell area, which is in the county's jurisdiction.

Three months later, on April 17, Kylie was chased again. This time, Blake bit her jacket, but not her. The second attack occurred in Ziekle family yard, according to a security video provided by her mom Jennifer.

"I'm thankful that it was a cool April day, because she was wearing that [sweatshirt]," Jennifer said. "It's like the dog had intent to run her down."

Credit: WBIR

KCSO showed up to their house that night after the Zielkes and their neighbors got into an argument. Blake's owners were issued a verbal warning.

"My neighbors are responsible. This is their dog, now somebody needs to step in so that this doesn't turn into a bigger conflict," Jennifer said. "To tell me that it's suitable for a dog to chase down a child and then give them a verbal warning is ridiculous."

Because the April incident was KCSO's first contact with Blake and his owners, Lt. Debbie Carter of the animal control division said the response was typical.

"I can understand the mothers concern for her and her family. Typically when we go out on a call, we try to educate the dog owner on ordinances, laws as well as proper care and containment for the animal," she said in an email. "We always give the warnings even on first contact and as long as an owner is receptive and makes corrections as necessary in the time frame given, we may not issue citations."

If an owner is not willing to take the necessary steps, KCSO has the option to issue citations or temporarily remove the animal from a home. However, in this case, KCSO said it appears to be a "fixable situation" based on the owners statement.

10News knocked on the door of Blake's owners and left them a note. However, we have yet to get a response.