Boy who was attacked by XL bully dog now gets bullied because of his injuries, his parents say
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A young boy has been left with 'catastrophic facial injuries' after being attacked by an XL bully.
Stacey Smith, from Liverpool, was looking after the powerful animal when it pounced at the four-year-old, ripping into his face and fracturing his skull.
A court heard that the unnamed child needed a muscle graft in order to rebuild his face following the savage attack on 13 August last year.
Prosecutor Helen Chenery told Liverpool Crown Court the boy had been to Smith's house a number of times that day.
During one of his visits, as he opened the garden gate, the XL bully, named Nola, charged at him, biting his head.
One of the neighbours heard the screams of the boy's mother and raced over, pulling the dog away and hitting it with a golf club, the court heard.
After being taken to hospital, it was revealed the little boy had suffered a right temporal depressed fracture along with multiple facial lacerations, and was lucky to be alive.
In a statement to the court, the boy's mum said his life has been changed forever and continues to suffer with the effects of his injuries.
"The dog's tooth punctured his head," she said. "Medics told us if it had gone 1cm deeper then he would be dead."
Her son has also suffered from bullying due to his injuries.
The devastated mother went on: "He is just not the same child he used to be, both psychologically and physically. He cries out in his sleep, 'Get the dog away from me'.
"He continues to suffer both physically and mentally... it is heartbreaking for us. Every time I close my eyes I can see the attack and I am reliving it. I feel sick and wish it was me."
Following the attack, Nola was put down.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Michael Cain said: "The injuries this dog inflicted on this small child were horrific. The child was very lucky to survive. The Crown Prosecution Service said that Ms Stacey did not do enough to intervene or prevent the attack. The actions of her neighbours prevented things getting very much worse."
Smith pleaded guilty to being a person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury.
Presiding over the case, Judge David Aubrey KC told the court that following the 'sustained, brutal attack' the boy had been severely impacted 'emotionally, mentally, and physically'.
Smith was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, which was suspended for 18 months, and she was ordered to carry out 20 rehabilitation days and 60 hours unpaid work.
Judge Aubrey said: "If not for the courageous intervention of others [the dog] may not have simply left a trail of destruction, it would have been a trail of fatalities.
"I hope the young boy now continues to make progress in the forthcoming months."