A mum feared her toddler daughter would die after she was mauled by a neighbour’s dog in an unprovoked attack.
Crystalee Hawker, 27, watched in horror as Staffordshire bull terrier Marnie pounced on two-year-old Ayla, who was playing with a trike a few metres away in the communal garden.
The mum-of-three, from Redfield, Bristol, leapt up and pulled the dog off her daughter. It had sunk its teeth into Ayla’s face.
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The youngster, now three, lay silently in her mum’s arms. Crystalee said: “I thought she was dead.
“I was in the front garden having a cigarette and chatting to my neighbour.
“Ayla never leaves my side, and she was playing with a trike just a few metres in front of me.
“Marnie came out into the communal garden, but Ayla didn’t go anywhere near him.
“She was just minding her business and playing with her toys.
“Out of nowhere, Marnie just lunged at Ayla’s face, knocking her to the ground.
“I leapt up and ripped the dog off her, and Ayla just silently lay there as blood poured out of her face.
“The world spun around me; it was absolutely terrifying. I was hysterical.”
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Ayla was taken to hospital where she underwent surgery to repair the deep puncture wounds on her face.
The terrified tot was left with around 11 teeth marks to her face, which medics feared could leave her indefinitely scarred, as well as being left emotionally traumatised by the incident.
Crystalee and her family had lived next door to the dog in Redfield, Bristol, for over a year and had never been concerned about the dog’s behaviour prior to the incident.
Lee Lewis, 50, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control. He was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to a six-month jail term, suspended for two years.
Crystalee, a full time mum, said: “Ayla has been left traumatised.
“She’s now very scared and doesn’t like being away from me.
“She was due to start nursery, but we had to postpone because she was so terrified.
“She became really angry after the attack; she stopped eating and it affected her potty training.
“She’s so young it’s difficult to know the extent of the emotional damage, but she’s had art therapy to help her process what happened.
“We had to re-home our two beloved dogs because I’m now so terrified of dogs.
“It’s had a huge impact on us as a family and I really worry about long term damage it will have done.”
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