(DETROIT) — A 10-year-old girl is recovering from the first of three major surgeries doctors hope will repair her face nearly 10 years after a raccoon attack nearly destroyed it.
A pet raccoon mutilated Charlotte Ponce when she was 3 months old, and she has so far undergone seven reconstructive surgeries to repair the damage.
“The pet raccoon somehow got into the house,” Charlotte’s adoptive mother, Sharon Ponce, told ABC News Detroit affiliate WXYZ. “And they assume the raccoon was probably after her bottle.”
The raccoon tore off Charlotte’s ear, upper lip and nose, WXYZ reported. Her parents lost custody of her and her older brother, Marshall, following the attack.
Her most-recent surgery, to create a lining for her nose, took a little more than eight hours. Doctors called the operation a success, and Charlotte is recovering in the children’s ICU. Wednesday’s surgery was expected to be the longest and riskiest, WXYZ reported, and followed a previous unsuccessful attempt at mounting ear and nose prosthetics.
Charlotte still has more surgeries ahead of her, but the attack she endured as an infant hasn’t diminished her love of animals.
A day before her surgery, Charlotte and her family visited the Detroit Zoo, the Royal Oak Patch reported.
“It’s a funny thing for someone who was attacked by an animal to love animals so much,” Charlotte’s adoptive father told the Royal Oak Patch.
Charlotte has a long road ahead of her but doctors expressed optimism about her recovery.
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