A six-year-old girl has been left scarred for life after a vicious dog dragged her to the ground and sank its teeth into her face in an unprovoked attack.
Little Lacey-Marie Smith was helping her granddad on his allotment when she was bitten by a cross-bread belonging to a fellow gardener.
The dog, which was on a lead at the time, started giving Lacey “funny looks” before suddenly lurching at her, pulling her to the ground and latching onto her head.
Lacey’s granddad David, 49, and dad, refrigerator engineer Nathan, 24, were forced to kick the stranger’s pet and drag it off the tiny girl, who was covered in blood.
She was rushed to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital after the attack at Saintbridge Allotments, Gloucester on Sunday, where she needed oxygen for the pain.
A team of specialist surgeons carried out a two-hour operation to repair her eyelid and forehead.
Lacey’s mum Sian Davis, 23, said her little girl hadn’t touched or looked at the dog, which was with its owner, before it pounced.
The owner apologised and Gloucestershire Police are investigating but Lacey’s family, of Matson, Gloucester, are now calling for the animal to be destroyed.
Mum-of-two Sian said: “Lacey’s dad and granddad were talking to somebody who owns an allotment down there when the dog pounced on Lacey.
“It pushed her to the floor, jumped on her and attacked her. They had to drag the dog off her and kick the dog away.
“It was a totally unprovoked attack and if it had been a little bit lower Lacey would have lost her eyesight.
“She’s a lovely little girl and has been really brave but I think it’s going to take a long time to get over this. I actually feel like killing the dog myself,” she said.
“We want the dog put down so it can’t hurt any other children.”
She added that Lacey is shaken-up and still in pain – and was even more upset because she was forced to spend the morning of her sixth birthday in hospital.
She is now taking a cocktail of painkillers and is frightened of big dogs.
“I am devastated,” full-time mum Sian, who also has a little boy called Lorenzo, 20 months, said. “My daughter woke up in hospital on her sixth birthday scarred for life.
“Normally children get excited about their birthdays but she didn’t enjoy the day at all – she wasn’t even interested in opening presents.”
Grandfather David, 49, who started working on the the allotment to reduce his stress levels after he had heart surgery, said he later learned other people avoid the dog.
“It’s killing me to think I didn’t know and I didn’t get there quick enough to stop it,” he said tearfully.
“It was a really nasty attack which happened within a click of a finger.”
“It wasn’t just a little cut, it went to the bone. It’s horrible to think she will be scarred for life.”
He added: “I understand how much people love their dogs.
“I have an eight-and-a-half stone French Mastiff which I really, really love but if it attacked a child I would have him put to sleep, no matter how much it broke my heart to do so.
“Once they have drawn blood it shows they are that way inclined and you can’t take the risk of it happening again to somebody else.
“I’m 100 per cent sure that that dog will attack again and I cannot understand how somebody could take that risk after seeing what happened to Lacey.”
Gloucestershire Constabulary said they were called to the incident just after 8pm on Sunday, and that a little girl was taken to hospital with serious facial injuries.
A spokesman said: “We will be interviewing the man who owns the dog under caution as part of a criminal investigation under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
“Cases like this under the Dangerous Dogs Act are heard in front of magistrates and it is their decision as to what sanctions to impose if an owner is convicted.
“Sanctions can include the destruction of the dog or various control orders and fines.
“In the meantime, the owner has signed a dog behaviour contract which means the dog must be muzzled at all times when out.”