The girl is the daughter of Newark City Councilman Todd Ruckle.
"She's such a friendly girl. She loves animals and my heart goes out to her family and I feel awful," said Dee Wagman, family friend.
It happened around 1:00 p.m. Saturday in the unit block of Adelene Drive.
The victim and her 15-year-old sister were in a room with the dog when it attacked. The older girl called 911, but police say the dog prevented them from escaping the room.
"That's very heroic to step in and put yourself in harm's way to protect someone you love," said Dave Knight, neighbor.
The 8-year-old suffered severe injuries to her arm. She taken to a hospital in critical condition and was later flown to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The dog was eventually shot and killed by a Newark officer after police say it was aggressive towards them.
Wagman says her children would often play over at the victim's house.
"They would ensure me that the dog was locked separately and they would have no contact with that dog," she said.
Councilman Ruckle was just elected in April.
As for the attack, it's still under investigation.