The owner of a pitbull-type dog has been handed a suspended sentence after her pet launched a savage attack on a four-year-old girl.
Tillie Vasey was thrown around “like a ragdoll” by the 12-year-old dog last July, and suffered a fractured skull, puncture wounds around her eyes and a torn tear duct.
She has endured three major operations and a fourth is planned for later this year.
Owner Dawn Holt claimed the youngster was to blame for the horrifying attack however, writing on social media: “It’s her own fault she gone that low. My dog didn’t bite her, he clawed her to get away.”
Holt also said a fracture injury Tillie sustained could have been caused by a nearby “tree stump”.
Holt was yesterday (Thursday) handed a suspended sentence at Preston’s Sessions House Court but was banned from keeping dogs for life.
The pitbull-type dog, Caesar, was ordered to be destroyed.
Tillie, from Ribbleton, Lancashire was playing in a friend’s garden when she was set upon by the out of control dog.
Witnesses heard screams as the dog repeatedly bit Tillie, leaving her face, hair and princess dress soaked in blood, the court heard.
The youngster was snatched from the dog’s grip by barber Warren Hadfield, who was visiting a friend in the same street and jumped in to fight the dog off.
Speaking after the court case, Tillie’s mum Leanne, 31, described the harrowing moment the tragedy happened and told how Tillie has been left with scars on her head and facial problems.
She said: “When I first saw Tillie I thought someone had painted her face – then I couldn’t move.
“I just froze, I didn’t know what to do. We called an ambulance but we couldn’t wait, we rushed her there in the car. She had a nine-hour operation.
“She’s been left with no confidence, she was always really bubbly. It’s left her with scars on her head and face and eye problems.
“Dawn Holt has never apologised to us, not once, and instead tried to blame my little girl. If she had have been sorry, things would have felt different. I am really happy with her sentence as I did not think she’d get that.”
The family have released harrowing pictures of Tillie’s injuries to raise awareness of the risks posed by out of control pets and the importance of responsible dog ownership.
Holt’s online comments in the aftermath of the attack attracted criticism from Judge Simon Newell, who imposed a three month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and 140-hours unpaid work.
He said suggestions by Holt that the injuries were caused by the dog’s claws are “unrealistic”.
Judge Newell also pointed out suggestions in social media posts that what happened was the youngsters’s fault were “wholly irresponsible”.
Prosecuting, Peter Barr said Holt was staying at her sister’s home on Westfield Drive – where Tillie’s family also live – and was looking after some of her sister’s children.
In a harrowing statement, Warren – who stepped in to save Tillie – described the moment he saw the dog “mauling” the little girl.
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He said: “She was being thrown around like a ragdoll – it looked vicious.”
He said Holt had jumped onto the dog and tried to take hold of Tillie, who was lying on the floor, conscious and crying.
He added: “I couldn’t see her face for the blood. She was rushed back home into the arms of her mum and then to hospital.”
Sessions House Court heard three consultant surgeons had dealt with Tillie, who had significant wounds to her head.
Her skull, which was fractured, was partially visible and there were puncture wounds around her eyes.
Defending, Anthony Parkinson said Holt’s social media posts followed threats and comments made to her online.
He added: “This is a lady who is genuinely remorseful. It’s an incident that regrettably could not be foreseen.”