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Baby girl bitten on face by dog

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 11, 2013

  • Baby Lexi, with her mum Gemma Garside at home in St Austell. BOTL20130906C-001_C

  • A Japenese Akita, like the one pictured, attacked Lexi

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THE mum of a 16-month-old baby girl who was bitten on the face by a dog fears her daughter will be scarred for life and the animal should be destroyed immediately.

Little Lexi McCaffery was treated in hospital for the bite and a piece of the animal's tooth was removed from her cheek after the German shepherd/Japanese Akita cross attacked last Tuesday.

Lexi has been left with four puncture holes to her face, a split lip and burst vein after the animal snapped when she attempted to cuddle it.

Mum Gemma Garside, 20, said they were visiting a friend when it happened.

She said: "All of a sudden it went for her face, I screamed and it let go. Her face was pouring with blood, it just wouldn't stop bleeding.

Lexi narrowly escaped having skin grafts and is now recovering back at the family's home in Thornpark Road, St Austell.

But Miss Garside, whose four-month-old daughter Lily was asleep on the sofa during the incident, said it is not the first time the rescue dog has struck and is calling for it to be put down.

The dog, known as Thi, is said to have previously snapped at another baby's face; that time it failed to pierce the baby's skin.

Miss Garside said: "I can't believe this has happened. I am going out of my head over it.

"I think she will be scarred for life, although they may fade as she gets older.

"Next time it will be worse, first time no blood, second time blood, what will happen next?

"That dog needs to be put down, we will go through all the right channels but I will not stop until it is. It's a tragedy waiting to happen.

"I haven't slept and I keep having flashbacks," she added.

A page Justice for Lexi, has been set up on social networking website Facebook and has amassed hundreds of supporters.

Friend Sam Hooper, 30, had been looking after Thi at her house in Dobell Road because Thi's owner is not allowed pets in her accommodation.

Miss Hooper said after the first incident she didn't want to look after the dog and has branded last week's attack "unforgiveable".

"I look at her (Lexi's) face and I feel so bad. I feel guilty, like it's my fault."

Miss Garside and her friends say they fear that the owner's four-month-old baby could also be at risk.

But Thi's owner, who has asked not to be named, said: "She was beaten up as a puppy and I rescued her. She is a lovely dog but she doesn't like to be disturbed when she's asleep."

She was not there at the time of the incident and says she has made people aware Thi can snap when she feels threatened.

"I am a mum and of course I understand that it's upsetting and if I had seen it happen, I would have had it (Thi) put down.

"The dog has been rehomed and, as far as I'm concerned, that should be the end of the matter. But they will not let it go."

A Cornwall and Devon Police spokesman said inquiries are continuing with officers still trying to establish if the dog has been destroyed. If not, the owner will be interviewed and magistrates will decide if the animal should be destroyed.

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3 comments

  • Haribofan  |  September 12 2013, 6:23AM

    Everyone knows you should never disturb a sleeping dog. If someone woke me up from a deep sleep I would lash out too. It is not the dog's fault. Never leave a child alone with any dog. It is the mother's fault.

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  • Smellyellie  |  September 11 2013, 8:06PM

    I can not imagine how scary that ordeal was fir the mother or little girl. However i think from what i have read that the owner should not be blamed. If the person responsible for the dog at the time new the dog had been beaten and was not trustworthey around people or children they should have took more precaution to protect guests coming to her home. I can understand the mothers fury at the dogs owner however think personally its not her fault. I sincerely hope that the innocent little girl makes a full and speedy recovery with as little stress as possible. I do think the public should consider this if you was a beaten child and was put into a corner and made to feel scared or affraid then how people expect a dog not react in the same way anyone ir any animal with a bad past or a fear they will react in haste and do anything to protect them selves if made to feel afraid startled or pressured. Beat wishes to the mum and little girl. I really hope this gets sorted out

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  • emurfitt  |  September 11 2013, 12:01PM

    For goodness sake, when will people learn to respect the rights of animals to be left alone. Why would anyone let their toddler 'cuddle' a dog that is sleeping? Any one of us might lash out if startled awake by being interfered with. These people admit the dog was unpredictable because of past abuse and is clearly now owned by people who aren't fit to keep dogs or children. Give the dog to a good home with no children and give it a chance to heal.

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