A two-year-old girl was left with life changing injuries and no feeling in her bottom lip after her neighbor’s 11-stone American Bully dog mauled her.
The youngster was left with deep cuts to her cheek, puncture wounds to the bone and had to go through seven hours of surgery after being airlifted to hospital after the horrendous attack in the Toxteth area of Liverpool in May last year.
Dog breeder Andrew McGowan, 35, who had up to 18 of the American Bully dogs in his three-bedroom terraced house in Cockburn Street in Toxteth, Liverpool, was jailed in June for 18 months.
The girl used to be bubbly and outgoing but her mum told a court she had been left ‘hurt and confused’ by what the ‘naughty doggies’ did to her.
A paramedic who was one of the first to the scene, Steve, told the Liverpool Echo: ‘It was one of the worst things I’ve come across. I’ve been to dog bites before but this poor girl was absolutely shredded by those dogs.
‘It wasn’t just her head and neck – it was her whole body. She was in such a bad way and if I’m honest, I wasn’t convinced she was going to make it at first.
‘She has life changing injuries to her head and face. She’s lost the sensory function of her bottom lip so she can no longer feel it, and that will be with her for the rest of her life. She is also severely traumatised.
But despite all that, she’s not eligible for compensation. It was a criminal offence but it was still classed as an accident.’
He is now raising money for the little girl and her family to support them and help take her on holiday. Donations have now reached £1,500, with an initial target of £3,000.
The toddler and her great aunt, 57, were attacked by the 11-stone animals, which are a cross between American bulldogs and mastiffs, while playing in the garden on the afternoon of May 7.
McGowan admitted being in charge of four out-of-control dogs when he appeared at Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court.
The girl was airlifted to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and had to spend seven hours in surgery after her right cheek became detached from her face by two-thirds.
Judge Clement Goldstone, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool, said McGowan had put money ahead of safety.
Sentencing him, he said: ‘It is quite clear to me that you had put money and the prospects of profiteering from breeding these animals ahead of safety.
‘I accept these particular dogs had never before been violent or displayed these tendencies, but keeping and breeding of these dogs, particularly in large numbers, carries with it a heavy responsibility, which you patently failed to discharge.’
The aunt was taken to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital where she received treatment for minor injuries.
More than one of the dogs attacked the girl, who was playing outside with a four-year-old and a six-year-old.
Her siblings witnessed the mauling but were uninjured.
The child’s aunt had been making her way back into the house with the toddler when one of the dogs attacked.
Judge Goldstone said: ‘The others literally smelled blood and joined in with appalling consequences.
‘The bulk of the attack occurred while (the girl) was in her great aunt’s arms and the physical and psychological experience for both of them cannot be underestimated.’
Mike Stephenson, prosecuting, said the aunt had tried to fight the dogs off and been bitten on her right arm.
Neighbour Thomas Richardson had eventually managed to distract the dogs by standing on a fence and shouting at them, allowing the aunt to grab the child and run through the house to the street outside, where passers-by stopped to help.
The court heard the child would be left permanently scarred by the attack.
It left her with lacerations to her right cheek, chin, neck and above her right eye as well as puncture wounds to the side of her head which went down to the bone and injuries to her arms, legs and ribs.
When the attack occurred, a cousin of the little girl said that a dog ‘grabbed’ her by the head after ‘jumping through the fence’ and told Mirror Online: ‘She’s lucky to be alive’.
Police later detained five dogs and six puppies from a neighboring property and confirmed the breed was an American Bully, which is not banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Two of the five adult dogs were humanely destroyed.
Judge Goldstone said the injuries would ‘unquestionably’ change the little girl’s life.
In a statement read to the court, the victim’s mother said the family had been left ‘traumatised, hurt and, most of all, confused’.
Describing the moment she found her daughter in an ambulance covered in blood, she said: ‘I could not make out any of her facial features.’
The court heard the four dogs had been destroyed after the attack and another dog and 13 puppies found at McGowan’s house had been rehomed.
Des Lennon, defending, said McGowan, who was not at home when the attack happened, was ‘truly sorry and remorseful’ and had presented himself to police officers after he returned to his property.
McGowan was also disqualified from owning dogs for 12 years.