Girl (4) wounded 16 times in dog attack

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A girl aged four suffered 16 separate wounds when she was mauled by a dog outside her home in Motherwell.

The youngster’s mum was also bitten as she tried desperately to get the crazed animal away from her daughter.

The attack by the cross breed, said to resemble a pit bull terrier, happened outside flats in Merry Street, on December 4 last year.

Stephanie Thomson (27) admitted an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act. CCTV which captured the attack was shown during a hearing at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Pit bulls are banned in the United Kingdom, but because the dog, called Zeus, was a cross breed it appears it didn’t fall within that category.

Zeus, got out of Thomson’s flat and chased Kelli Davidson and daughter Isla Lee who had just stepped out of the flat next door.

Frightened Kelli grabbed her daughter, but the dog bit Kelli, causing her to drop Isla. Zeus then bit Isla repeatedly.

The dog was destroyed on the orders of Sheriff Linda Nicolson who told Thomson she must carry out 180 hours of unpaid community work and pay £450 compensation to Kelli.

Afterwards Kelli, who suffered a broken bone in her hand during the attack, called for a return of the dog licence which was abolished more than 30 years ago.

She said: “Isla has a real fear of dogs now. She panics when she sees one and tries desperately to get away from it.

“I needed surgery after the attack and was in hospital for three days. The bone in my hand is bent and always will be. Isla’s scars might be superficial, according to a plastic surgeon, but we have to live with this every day.

“If I hadn’t been there with Isla in the close she might not be here today or her injuries would have been far worse. We are very lucky in that respect.”

Kelli believes the Government should reconsider bringing back the dog licence.

She said: “The licence requirement should be reinforced in the UK for dogs that are deemed to be dangerous. The dog’s ownership and care would be monitored with consequences for those owners who don’t comply

“If such laws were already in place in Isla and I might have avoided this horrible attack in the first place.”

Sheriff Nicolson questioned Thomson’s judgment in having a dog of this type and pointed out concern had been expressed before the attack.

The sheriff said: “This was a shocking and horrendous incident. It’s clear from the DVD that the dog was out of control and I note there had been a previous incident within the close and your neighbours were fearful of what that dog might do to children.

“It calls into question your judgment in keeping a dog of that kind. I take into account that you have no previous convictions and a conviction in itself is a significant penalty for you, but this is a serious matter and must be treated accordingly.”