Ellie Rodriguez, 6, sustained severe facial injuries after a bite at a parks & rec ball field.

Ellie Rodriguez, age 6, was bitten by a dog at Clear Creek Park on Monday evening, May 8. According to an eyewitness account from Kelsey Howell, whose child plays on Ellie’s soccer team, the child was at soccer practice and was walking to her mom when the incident occurred. As Ellie passed the dog, it lunged forward and bit her on the face, leaving a 14 centimeter long laceration on her cheek.

Another parent immediately came to the young girl’s aid and was able to wrap her with gauze and stop the bleeding. Ellie was released from Kosair Children’s Hospital on Saturday and is now recovering at home with family. However, in addition to permanent scarring, it is believed that she may lose the ability to smile on the injured side of her face.

Following this incident, on Thursday, May 11 the Shelbyville/Shelby County Parks and Recreation Board passed a new policy that was immediately put into effect regarding pet restrictions at the park. This new policy states, “Pets are not allowed on, in or around athletic fields or playgrounds. Pets on leashes will still be allowed to walk on trails and throughout the park, just not on, in or around the athletic fields.”

According to a statement from Shelbyville/Shelby County Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page, the park wants “everyone that comes to the park to feel confident about their safety and well-being.”

Director of Parks and Recreation, Matt Mattingly, was unable to comment as the incident is still under investigation, but he did confirm that the dog involved was on a leash at the time of the incident.

Howell formed a GoFundMe page on behalf of Ellie’s mother, Cassie Meadows. The page was designed to help offset some of the costs associated with Ellie’s medical bills and recovery. At the time of publication, the site has raised nearly $18,000 of their $20,000 goal. If you would like to contribute, you can do so online at gofund.me/5a817649.