FARMINGDALE — It was 9:30 Thursday morning when the 3-year-old girl wandered to within striking distance of Dozer, a male Rottweiler four times her size.

The dog, tethered by a steel cable to a barn at the home at 67 Littlefield Lane, lunged, snapping his choke collar, and mauled the child. The dog ripped off a large chunk of her scalp and bit her several times.

Pam Lapointe, 51, the owner of the home, dove on top of her granddaughter, but the dog kept biting and thrashing at the girl.

The girl, whose name was not released, sustained serious injuries that will require surgery, police said. Lapointe was not injured.

“Given the aggressive nature of the dog, I believe the grandmother saved the young girl’s life and should be commended for her bravery,” said Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty.

The dog, owned by Lapointe’s boyfriend, kept attacking even after a Gardiner Rescue crew arrived, preventing rescuers from immediately treating the girl. Gardiner police officer Allen Alexander shot and killed the dog after arriving on the scene, Liberty said.

The girl was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center in Portland, then by helicopter to Shriners Hospital in Boston.

Liberty said the girl was alert and stable at the hospital. A large piece of her scalp was found near the scene of the attack. Police packaged it in ice and rushed it to Maine Medical Center in hopes that doctors might reattach it.

The 5-year-old Rottweiler weighed about 120 pounds. Its owner, James Baum, 52, told police that he had warned the family to stay away from the dog.

Baum and the girl’s mother, Sarah Thompson, 22, share the house at 67 Littlefield Lane with Lapointe and the child.

Only Lapointe was at home with the girl when the dog attacked.

The dog’s remains were taken to a veterinarian to be tested for rabies and other diseases, Liberty said. He said Farmingdale Animal Control Officer Jim Grant will continue to investigate the incident. Police did not file any charges.

Grant said he was not sure whether there had been any complaints to police about the dog.

Liberty urged people who have not properly trained their dogs — especially dogs that are known to be aggressive – to keep them away from other people.

Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

ccrosby@centralmaine.com