A 3-month-old pit bull mix gnawed off five of a baby girl’s fingers in a Valentine’s Day attack as the victim was in her bassinet and her mother was in a bathroom. Months later, the young mother faces a child neglect case after five of the victim’s fingers had to be amputated, three of them “fully” and two “partially.”
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Chloe Annabella Leigh Wisniewski, 21, did not get her story straight about what happened on Feb. 14 at the Port Charlotte residence on Abrade Ave., and those inconsistencies combined with the alleged admissions she did make form that basis of the felony neglect charge.
Detective Nicholas Wrasse set the horrific scene by describing the state of the bassinet.
“Inside of the residence I located the bassinet, which had been moved and was positioned slightly further away from the end table than previously observed on the body worn camera. There was a pillow and worm doll with visible blood inside of the bassinet which were collected. A Mickey Mouse blanket, also with blood, was in the laundry room and collected,” said the affidavit. “I also observed a dog cage that is capable of securing animals at the the residence.”
Neither Eric Wisniewski, 49, nor Geoffrey Wisniewski, 19, were at the residence at the time of the attack, authorities said, and Chloe was the one who called 911. The defendant was living in a garage at the home that had been converted into a bedroom and said she was feeling unwell before she allegedly left the baby alone in a room with Apollo, the pit bull mix, authorities said.
“Chloe stated that she had placed [the victim] down in the bassinet after feeding her and [the victim] fell asleep. Chloe felt like she was going to vomit and walked into the bathroom, began feeling okay for a second, and then heard [the victim] crying. Chloe exited the bathroom and saw blood at the bassinet and the puppy inside of it. Chloe got the puppy out of the bassinet, picked [the victim] up, and contacted 911,” documents said.
The defendant allegedly told investigators that the dog was brought to the home the night before after someone learned through Facebook that the puppy was unwanted.
“Chloe indicated that the puppy had been dropped off at their residence at approximately 2230 or 2300 on the night of February 13, 2023,” the affidavit continued. “Chloe stated that the puppy was originally seen by [redacted] on Facebook that someone was getting rid of them. Harley wanted the puppy but was unable to keep him at the time, and Chloe’s family planned to keep the puppy for an unknown period until Harley could take it. Harley arranged to pick up the puppy and dropped the puppy off at the residence.”
That night, the puppy slept on the couch with Eric Wisniewski, the detective said. Just hours later, it’s alleged, the “unattended” puppy used a couch at the residence to reach the bassinet and maim the baby for life.
Authorities claimed that Wisniewski’s initial statement about being in the bathroom because she felt sick was inconsistent with a statement that she was taking a shower, but the defendant allegedly said the two statements were related.
“Chloe stated that she was going to the bathroom because she was feeling sick from a birth control device that had been put a few days prior, and the device had caused her cramps to be extra painful. Chloe went in to use the bathroom, turned on the shower as she was planning to take a shower to feel better, but had only turned it on ‘for a split second’ before turning it off because she was feeling better,” the affidavit said. “Chloe indicated that she never got into the shower.”
When authorities arrived on scene, the affidavit said, the defendant was wrapped in a towel, but Wisniewski allegedly claimed that she did not get in the shower and was only in the bathroom for around a minute.
When asked if she told Geoffrey to watch the baby while she was in the bathroom, she allegedly answered no (it was learned that he was at a gas station at the time of the attack).
“Chloe further added that if she was going to take a shower she ‘would have put the dog back in the cage because it’s a puppy, anything can happen.’ But she had decided that she wasn’t going to take a shower,” the affidavit continued. That alleged admission about “anything can happen” when a child is left alone with a dog proved to be important.
In support of the the felony child neglect charge under 827.03(2)(b), alleging willful or culpable negligence that “causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement,” the state cited the defendant’s “multiple slightly varied accounts of what she was doing” at the time of the attack, plus her alleged acknowledgment that the dog was not caged and was left in a bassinet unattended near a couch — allowing the puppy “access” to the baby.
Authorities said that the victim, whose age was not disclosed, had to have the “3rd, 4th, and 5th digits” on her left hand “fully amputated” and the “3rd and 5th digits” on her right had to be “partially amputated.”
When the dog attack occurred, the defendant allegedly said, she heard a whine and a cry coming from the room where the puppy was left alone with the baby.
“When Chloe picked up the puppy he was not biting [the victim’s] fingers at the time. When asked about her observations of [the victim’s] fingers at the time, Chloe indicated there was so much blood she couldn’t see them,” according to court documents.
Sheriff’s investigators in Charlotte County said that they also questioned the defendant about testing positive for THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis (court records say the defendant was 20 years old at the time of the dog attack and that she turned 21 in March; Florida law generally permits the use of medical marijuana (i.e., not recreational marijuana) by those 18 and older).
“Chloe stated that she was at an unknown neighbor’s house, on the block, approximately 3 or4 days prior, and they offered her a cookie they had made. Chloe took a bite of the cookie, indicated that it tasted weird, and then didn’t eat more of it,” according to the affidavit. “I asked Chloe if there was anything else and she responded by saying ‘Honestly, I have no idea. That’s the only thing I can think of” — besides possible secondhand smoking of marijuana.
Notably, Geoffrey Wisniewski was arrested on March 29 in Charlotte County for allegedly possessing over 20 grams of marijuana. Jail records show that he lives at the same Abrade Ave. address where the dog attack took place.
He bonded out of jail and, as of May 15, the case was listed as closed on the docket. The Office of the State Attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit declined to prosecute, court records say.
Court records show that Chloe Wisniewski was barred Saturday from contacting the victim child for the duration of the case or until the judge rules differently. She has bonded out of jail on her own recognizance. The bond amount was $7500, jail records say.
NBC 2 reported that Apollo was taken into custody of animal control, quarantined, and handed over to the Animal Welfare League.
An arraignment is currently scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 17. Wisniewski is represented by public defender Robert Denny. Law&Crime reached out to him for comment.
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