Woman loses 2 finger tips in dog attack

Posted 10/5/23

Normally, Dawn Forte walks with her dog Skye by the water near her house on Arnolds Neck Drive. On Sept. 21, however, she took a different path.

As she walked past a house …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Woman loses 2 finger tips in dog attack


Normally, Dawn Forte walks with her dog Skye by the water near her house on Arnolds Neck Drive. On Sept. 21, however, she took a different path.

As she walked past a house on Staples Avenue, a pitbull belonging to the owners of the home ran up and attacked Skye. Forte tried to pull the dog off of her dog, but in the process was attacked herself.

Skye ended up with bite marks on her neck. Forte, a substitute teacher with Warwick Public Schools, lost the fingertips of her index and middle fingers on her right hand.

Five people rushed to the scene- the pitbull’s owners, as well as Matthew Joaquin, Marc Feeley and Manny Resendes, three construction workers working on a home nearby. It took all five of them, according to Forte, to pull the pitbull off of her and her dog.

“It was a bloody mess,” Forte said.

The  pitbull’s owner, Jennifer Alves, said in a police report that the incident occurred when her boyfriend detached the dog, named Mister, from a leash to bring him back inside. Alves was officially charged with two violations- Restraint of Dog, 1st Offense and Unrestricted and Aggressive Dog Prohibited, 1st Offense. Together, the two offenses total $265 in fines, with a date in Municipal Court on Oct. 11.

According to the police report, Mister is late on his rabies vaccine, and his previous vaccination expired in March.

Forte said that hers was the third incident that she was aware of that has occurred with that dog, though hers was the first recorded one. In the police report, Alves stated that her dog had “never had an incident of this nature.”

“If that was ever a child, I’m happy to take this to save anyone,” Forte said. “I’m glad it wasn’t anyone else.”

Since the bite, Forte has had to make weekly hospital visits in order to check in to make sure her fingers don’t become infected.

Forte has relied on both her faith and community to get her through the recovery process.

Forte believes she was protected by a divine source. The day before, she had visited the Shrine of the Little Flower, a shrine at the Church of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus in Burrillville, which she described as a “special place.”

“I just feel like, because of all the men that it took to get this beast off me, it was some kind of divine intervention,” Forte said.

Without the use of her right hand, Forte has relied on friends in the community to help her out. Her husband David has been cooking for her, and friends, including her “prayer warriors” at St. Rose and Clement Church, have been helping with day-to-day tasks. One friend has even been changing the bandages on her hand, which needs to be done daily to prevent infection.

“When I look at it, I feel nauseous for the day,” Forte said. “Even talking about it, I don’t feel right. It’s gruesome.”

The incident has left Forte scared of open spaces. She is planning to take a vacation in Hawaii later this month, and said she is now afraid to go through with many of the activities she was planning on doing. In order to prevent infection, her doctors have told her that she cannot get her hand wet, further changing her plans.

“I’m supposed to do all this fun adventure, it would be my first trip going to this faraway place, and I’m afraid,” Forte said. “I’m a little afraid, and I don’t want to be. I’m going to work on that. I’ve never been afraid [before].”

Forte has not had contact with Alves since the incident, saying that she doesn’t think she’s ready to talk to her yet.

According to the police report, Mister was taken to the Warwick Animal Shelter for a quarantine, which ended on Oct. 1.

pitbull, attack, dog


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here