A seven-year-old girl from Halifax has been left with permanent facial scars after a horrific doorstep dog attack was lucky not have lost her bottom lip, a court heard.
Little Leah Carter had knocked on her friend’s door to see if she wanted to come out to play just moments before a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross called Buster latched himself at her face.
The court heard that the dog belonged to the then-partner of Colleen Bray, 34, and she had been looking after when it attacked the schoolgirl.
It was one of Bray’s children that Leah was inviting out to play, just before she seriously injured by the animal at around 7.45pm on April 22 in Bradford.
The attack left Leah with a hole in her cheek and a tear on her bottom lip - both injuries requiring an overnight stay in hospital followed by surgery.
Leah needed 35 stitches - 20 for her bottom lip and 15 for her cheek.
Bradford Magistrates Court heard that Leah “was lucky to have her lip intact” after the incident.
District Judge Richard Clews said: “It sound like it could have been torn off in those circumstances.”
Nadine Clough, prosecuting, read some sections of Leah’s interview with police in which she said she heard Bray tell her daughter not to open the door, but she did.
Bray, of Bradford, had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury.
She was slapped with a four month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and an order was also made to destroy the dog.
Amjid Khan, for Bray, said: “If she could turn the clock back she certainly would have done things differently.”
He said his client has accepted full responsibility for what happened.
Bray, who is on benefits, was told to pay £500 to Leah and must complete a community requirement of up to 33 days.
She was also disqualified from being in charge of a dog for 12 months.
Speaking after the sentence Leah’s mum, Sarah Nelson, 33 said: “I’m happy with the sentence.
“The main thing is we got rid of the dog, Leah will be happy its not coming back.”
Mum-of-two Sarah, who works a patient transfer driver, said the Leah’s scars will be permanent and not only is Leah afraid of big dogs but also smaller ones as well.