KFC probe after scarred girl ordered out

Last updated 11:31 16/06/2014
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RECOVERING: Victoria Wilcher was left scarred after being attacked by a dog.

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KFC is investigating allegations that a US restaurant asked a 3-year-old girl to leave because her facial injuries disturbed other patrons.

The allegation about the Mississippi KFC was made on Victoria's Victories, a Facebook page following Victoria Wilcher's recovery from a pit bull attack in April.

The administrator posted a photo showing Victoria smiling shyly in spite of her facial scars and cartoon-decorated eye patch, and wrote, "Does this look scary to you? Last week at KFC in Jackson MS this precious face was asked to leave because her face scared the other diners."

KFC posted an apology the next morning, requesting details.

"As soon as we were notified of this report on Friday, we immediately began an investigation, as this kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC," spokesman Rick Maynard wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

"Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologised to Victoria's family and are committed to assisting them. The company is making a US$30,000 donation to assist with her medical bills. The entire KFC family is behind Victoria."

Her grandmother Kelly Mullins said Victoria had just been to a doctor's office when they stopped at the restaurant.

She ordered mashed potatoes for Victoria because she thought the hungry child could swallow the soft food without chewing.

She said she was then approached by an employee. "They just told us, they said, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers," she told WAPT-TV.

Victoria wept all the way home and now is embarrassed by her appearance - something that wasn't the case before, Mullins said.

"She won't even look in the mirror anymore," Mullins said. "When we go to a store, she doesn't even want to get out" of the car.

Victoria was attacked by pit bulls at her grandfather's home. The dogs broke her nose, both jaws, cheekbones and right eye socket; the right side of her face is paralysed and she lost that eye, according to her Facebook site.

Her bottom jaw was reconstructed but she needs a feeding tube and must grow more bone in her face before more surgery is possible, it stated.

The page's administrator wrote that Victoria's Victories had gone from 250 people praying for Victoria to thousands.

A message posted by another Mississippi KFC franchisee, Dick West of West Quality Food Service in Laurel, offered "a big KFC picnic" for the child and her family.

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West also wrote that he knew the Jackson restaurant owners "and they have never in the 50 years they have operated in Jackson allowed anyone coming into their restaurants to be treated with dis-respect."

In a message to the AP, he wrote, "I am sure KFC will make their finding public as soon as the facts are in. In the meantime, I offered to treat Victoria to a picnic because regardless of the outcome of the investigation, she has been thru more than any little girl should and I wanted to give her a special treat."

- AP

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