Pictured: Dog that 'ripped off' part of five-year-old girl's face
Pocket Bully who ‘ripped off’ part of five-year-old girl’s face when she tried to stroke it outside a Nisa store is pictured
- Farrah-Leigh, five, was attacked by the dog at a Teesside shop on Saturday night
- She was hospitalised to treat ‘significant injuries to her face’ after the mauling
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
The Pocket Bully dog that ‘ripped off’ part of a five-year-old girl’s face when she tried to stroke it has been pictured.
Farrah-Leigh Nichol, five, had gone to stroke the Pocket Bully after asking permission from the owner at around 6.30pm on Saturday near a Nisa store in Teesside.
But as the schoolgirl patted the animal’s head it pounced – biting a huge chunk out of her left cheek.
Her father Alex Nichol, 30, kicked the Bully away and scooped his daughter up before she was rushed to hospital, where she is being treated for serious facial injuries.
Farrah-Leigh’s mother Danielle Kemp, 32, and Mr Nichol are by the youngster’s side as she prepares for skin graft operations.
Ms Kemp told MailOnline: ‘What I saw and the screams I heard will haunt me, she really didn’t deserve this.
This is the Pocket Bully dog that ‘ripped off’ part of a five-year-old girl’s face when she tried to stroke it
This is the devastating injury caused to little Farrah-Leigh Nichol after she was savaged by a bully-type dog outside a corner shop
The Pocket Bully, which is a cross between an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Patterdale Terrier, has now been put down
Yet as the schoolgirl gently patted the animal’s head it pounced – biting a huge chunk out of her left cheek
Farrah-Leigh Nichol had gone to stroke the Pocket Bully after asking permission from the owner at around 6.30pm on Saturday outside a Nisa store in Teesside (pictured)
‘I was cooking tea when Alex came running in with Farrah-Leigh.
‘Our heads are all over the place at the moment. My little girl has already had one operation and she has another two to come.
‘She has one tomorrow morning and then another in two weeks, she’s been very brave.
‘The support we have had from local people has been overwhelming, we can’t thank them enough.’
The family live close to the store on Norton Road, in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and the youngster was accompanied by her father when the dog struck without warning.
The owner of the animal waited at the scene as emergency services arrived and the dog has now been put down.
Pocket Bullys are smaller variants of American Bullys, with full-grown males under 17 inches and females under 16 inches at the shoulder blades.
Farrah-Leigh Nichol, five, (pictured) was injured when she was mauled by a dog after she stroked it on Saturday
The dog, a Pocket Bully, allegedly involved in the attack on five-year-old Farrah-Leigh Nichol
The family live close to the store on Norton Road, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and the youngster was accompanied by her father when the dog struck without warning
She has had one operation and is set for two more following the horrific incident outside a Nisa store on Saturday evening
Mr Nichol, who works as a tiler, said: ‘We had gone to the shop together and she had paid for some bread at the till.
‘We came out and I pressed the button to cross the road and she said, “Can I stroke that dog?”
‘I said, ”Yes, but you will have to ask the man first.”
‘She said, “Can I stroke your dog?” and he said, ‘Yes, no problem.’
‘She went to stroke the dog on the head. She loves dogs. She was stroking it really gently.
‘The dog jumped and she jumped back and I thought, that was lucky.
‘But then the next minute I saw her curled up on the floor and she said, “Dad”.
‘She was crying and all her face was off. Her face was gone. It was just gruesome.’
Her father, Alex Nichol, 30, said: ‘We have three dogs (pictured, Farrah-Leigh with one of the family’s dogs) ourselves. We have a Staffie and two XL Bullies. But I would be happy to muzzle them’
Farrah-Leigh’s father Mr Nichol, 30, (pictured) said: ‘If all dogs were muzzled it would just take away the risk. If it saved just one child it would be worth it’
Mr Nichol rushed over to his daughter who was still in dangerously close proximity to the animal.
He added: ‘I ran across to get her but the dog was right behind her.
READ MORE: Dog attacks on children led to more than 1,000 surgeries last year with nearly 40% on victims under the age of four, NHS figures show
‘I booted it. I stamped on it. I picked my daughter up and went back to the house.
‘She was taken to hospital and she is stable and she has had stitches. But there’s still so much to do.’
The Pocket Bully, which is a cross between an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Patterdale Terrier, has now been put down.
It lived just down the road from the home Farrah-Leigh shares with her mother and father.
In the wake of a spate of recent dog attacks on children, Mr Nichol now believes all breeds should be muzzled.
He said: ‘We have three dogs ourselves. We have a Staffie and two XL Bullies. But I would be happy to muzzle them.
‘If all dogs were muzzled it would just take away the risk. If it saved just one child it would be worth it.
‘Always be wary of dogs you don’t know.
‘My daughter loved dogs, but this incident has obviously given her a full fear factor.
Her father added: ‘She was crying and all her face was off. Her face was gone. It was just gruesome’
‘We’re all still in shock at the moment. We can’t believe this has happened.’
Family friend Kirsty Lavender, 32, said: ‘She’s such a brave, strong little girl, she’s kind but she still needs a skin graft to reform her face.
‘Her mam and dad are very worried about her of course but she’s bounced back really well so far.’
The incident came after it was revealed that dog attacks left British children needing surgery more than 1,000 times last year, including nearly 400 cases where the child was under the age of four.
READ MORE: Dog owners terrified of attacks by vicious ‘bully’ breeds after seven deaths this year are buying pet armour and taking their pets for walks on treadmills
The shocking figures showed that the total number of hospitalisations following dog attacks has nearly doubled from 4,699 in 2007/8 to 9,336 in 2022/23.
Dr John Tulloch, a lecturer in veterinary public health at Liverpool University, previously said that the way Brits take care of dogs needs to change.
‘We know dogs are now kept in the home for more than seven or eight hours on their own and they are going to get frustrated.
‘A lot of dogs don’t get the exercise needs – their health needs aren’t being met and so they have the potential to be more anxious and nervous.
‘If you keep a dog in a horrible environment and they’re not looked after they are going to have more behaviour problems and be more likely to bite.’
A neighbour who lives near where this latest attack happened said: ‘The little girl asked to stroke the dog and it just went for her.
‘Her dad was straight over to help and he was booting the thing to get it away from her. She did nothing to provoke it and the owner seemed happy for her to pat the dog.
‘A dog that unpredictable should not have been out without a muzzle.’
Cleveland Police said Farrah-Leigh was taken to hospital for treatment and a dog had been seized.
A force spokesman said the owner of the dog remained at the scene after the attack.
‘Officers attended the scene within minutes of the report being called in and provided medical assistance to the girl whilst waiting for the ambulance, ‘ the force spokesman added.
‘The girl has suffered significant injuries to her face and is receiving treatment in hospital.
‘The owner of the dog remained at the scene following the attack and co-operated with police. The dog has been seized.
‘We would politely ask people not to post photos relating to the incident and to avoid speculating on social media whilst officers continue with their investigation.’
A spokesperson for North East Ambulance Service added: ‘We were called at 6.25pm [on Saturday] to reports of an incident involving a dog bite in the Norton area of Stockton.
‘We dispatched a paramedic crew who treated one patient with facial injuries before transporting to hospital.’
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to send Farrah-Leigh to Disneyland with her family once she is well enough.
Shauna Lee Rollinson, 26, who created the page, said: ‘Farrah-Leigh is in my little girl’s class at school.
‘She tells my daughter all the time how she’d love to go to Disneyland.
‘If we can make this happen for this gorgeous girl I will cry my eyes out.
‘The support so far has been outstanding.’
Anyone wishing to donate to send Farrah-Leigh to Disney World once she’s well enough can do so here.
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