The grandmother of a 3-year-old girl who was viciously attacked by three dogs says she was asked to leave a KFC in Jackson, Miss., by an employee who said the girl's scars were scaring other customers.
“They just told us, ‘We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,’" Kelly Mullins, Victoria Wilcher's grandmother, told WAPT-TV. "She understood exactly what they said."
Mullins said she was driving her granddaughter home from the hospital in early June when they stopped at KFC for mashed potatoes.
The dog attack, Mullins explained, has made it difficult for her granddaughter to swallow.
"The right side of her face is paralyzed," Mullins said. "She's got a lot of surgeries to go through and she won't even look in the mirror anymore. When we go to a store, she doesn't even want to get out [of the car]. She's 3 years old and she's embarrassed about what she looks like."
The incident, Mullins said, left the girl in tears.
“No matter what’s wrong with a person, if a person’s different, if a person’s scarred, or is a different color or anything, people shouldn’t be discriminated against,” Mullins continued. “Her being 3 years old and already being discriminated against, it makes me mad, because I know for the rest of her life it’s going to be like that.”
KFC said it is investigating the incident.
"We take this very seriously, as we have zero tolerance for any kind of hurtful or disrespectful actions toward our guests," KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said in a statement. "Our investigation is ongoing, but we have been in touch with the family and are committed to doing something appropriate for this beautiful little girl and her family. We will also work with the franchisee to take appropriate action at the restaurant once the specifics of the incident are determined."
Not surprisingly, her story has gone viral. A Facebook page launched in April to give friends updates on Victoria's recovery has garnered more than 30,000 likes, thanks in large part to a post about her experience at KFC.
KFC, it's worth noting, responded on Facebook the next day.
"Please accept our sincere apologies while we try to investigate this incident," the restaurant wrote in a comment. "If you could help provide details of the incident ... we will look into this immediately. We have zero tolerance for any kind of disrespectful behavior by our team members. Once we have further details, we will immediately investigate this and take action, and we wish nothing but the best for Victoria in her recovery."
A donation page set up to help Victoria's family pay her medical bills has raised nearly $20,000.
Investigators said three pit bulls attacked Victoria the backyard of her grandfather's home. According to WAPT-TV, the grandfather, Donald Mullins — Kelly Mullins' ex-husband — shot and killed two of the dogs; a third was euthanized. The grandfather and his girlfriend were later arrested on child-endangerment charges.
According to Simpson County Sheriff Kenneth Lewis, Donald Mullins was keeping 10 pit bulls at his home at the time of the attack.
"This is probably the worst [pit bull attack] we've ever had," Lewis said.
The month before, a 3-year-old boy died after being mauled by two pit bulls in Holmes County, Miss., the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported, "an attack that prompted Sheriff Willie March to state his support for a countywide ban on the breed."