Girl, 4, has face mauled by dog family adopted from trust just 15 hours before

A four-year-old girl's face was mauled by a dog who was described to be "gentle" by the trust that placed the pet in her family's home 15 hours before the attack.

The family had fostered the male bullmastiff named Scooby just the day before the vicious attack occurred on July 7, 2021, from a trust that has now been ordered to pay the family £8,000 ($10,000).

The mother of the young girl spoke of the horrific scenes after being alerted to the attack through her daughter's screams.

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She said: “When I rushed into the lounge, she was holding her face. There was blood dripping on the couch and carpet."

The woman gave her victim impact statement in New Plymouth District Court at the sentencing of the We Love Dogs Charitable Trust, which admitted to owning the dog that caused the injury.

The court heard Scooby was taken in by the trust, which fosters and rehomes abandoned dogs across Taranaki, New Zealand, after living nine years with its previous owners.

After going on a two-week trial adoption with a family in June 2020, Scooby was given a muzzle due to him being “nervous in new places”.

The family returned Scooby to trust at the end of the trail after noticing his aggressive behaviour and told the trust that he was possessive regarding his food and space.

On the same day he was fostered by the family of the four-year-girl who were told that Scooby was “gentle but that he will greet people arriving with a bark before settling” as they were provided with a muzzle that was only a "precaution".

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Just 15 hours after collecting Scooby, he viciously bit the girl after she tried to pat him on the back, causing multiple large cuts to her face.

She was subsequently rushed to the GP where they cleaned the wounds before transferring her to Taranaki Base Hospital’s emergency department.

The girl was then was flown to Waikato Hospital for surgery as her mother said: "There were countless tears watching her go through this. It’s something I’ll never forget."

Silicone tape is required to be on her face for 23 hours of the day and that will continue to be the case until her scars heal, which is not expected to be until late 2023.


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