ITS HAPPENED AGAIN
Four years after his daughter was mauled, father also bitten in pit bull attack
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the correct owner of two dogs attacked by a pit bull in Wilmington. While the rabies vaccination once required as many as 30 shots in the stomach, it now requires at a maximum four.
The father of a Delaware girl who nearly lost her arm in a 2014 pit bull attack was bitten by two pit bulls himself on Saturday and is undergoing a series of rabies shots.
"I just turned around, and they just were on me," Todd Ruckle said in a video recorded from the hospital and posted on Facebook. "One was on my leg, and the other one came up to my face and got my lip, but that's not bad. My leg's the really bad one."
His daughter Emily Ruckle was mauled by a pit bull named Frank while at the family's home in Newark. It was four years ago, this month. At the time, she was 8 years old.
Emily's brother, Jack, had moved in with the Ruckles two months before, bringing the dog with him. It belonged to his father, who had recently moved out of state. Maria and Todd Ruckle weren’t really happy about the pit bull being in their home, but Jack was attached to the dog, which almost died before moving in.
In the first 12 hours after the attack, Emily essentially bled out four times. She underwent more than two years of surgeries and rehab to restore function to her arm. After a final surgery in 2016, she regained some of the function in her right hand.
The Ruckles have been trying to move on from the attack, but on Saturday, Emily's father, Todd Ruckle, was bitten by pit bulls himself while showing a house in Wilmington's Little Italy neighborhood. He and his wife are real estate agents.
The dogs were down the street, running loose. The first dog grabbed onto Ruckle’s leg, he told The News Journal on Wednesday. As he worked to take that one off, he said, the other pit bull went up his chest, lunging for his face.
“I had jaws coming at me,” he said. “The jaws were so big. It was as big as my head coming at me.”
Ruckle said he was able to push the second pit bull away before it bit his face.
“They just snapped like a millimeter from taking my face off,” he said. The dog continued fighting Ruckle, striking the former Newark councilman’s face. “I’ve got a big fat lip over it.”
Ruckle said his daughter was doing well, but she, too, was shaken up.
“She wouldn’t even talk to me about it,” he said. “I don’t know what to do. How could this happen?”
“I’m just very emotional. I’ve got a lot of flashback stuff going on."