A NINE-year-old girl was left needing surgery after she was mauled by a dog at a Christchurch play area.
The youngster is recovering from her injuries in hospital and the dog, described as an English Bull Terrier-type, has been destroyed with the consent of the owner.
The owner of the dog, believed to be Christchurch woman Paige Robertson, has been reported for owning a dog dangerously out of control.
Police said the animal had to be pulled away from the little girl as she stood near the Quantock Court Playground in Hunt Road, Somerford on Monday night.
Officers were called to the scene at 8.15pm and first aid was given to the youngster before she was taken by ambulance to Poole Hospital. It’s believed she was later transferred to Salisbury Hospital to have a skin graft operation.
A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “She sustained a serious bite injury to her ankle.
“The dog was seized by police and later put to sleep. A police investigation into the circumstances of the attack is ongoing.
“The owner of the dog, a 20-year-old Christchurch woman, has been reported for owning a dog dangerously out of control.”
Katie King, who lives close to the family of the young schoolgirl, said the dog – who it is believed was called Dylan - was being walked by Paige’s 16-year-old niece before the animal attacked.
“The little girl has to have a skin graft because she was injured on her leg, ankle and finger,” she said.
“It’s really shocking and upsetting to hear about. The dog’s already been destroyed – I’ve heard the owner had only had it for a month.”
A friend of the family, who asked not to be named, said: “The girl would never have gone near a dog.
“We all know she’s afraid of them. I’m glad the dog has been destroyed. We’re all so upset about it.”
Following the incident, Paige took to Facebook to apologise to the young victim.
She said: “To the child and the parents that was attacked by the dog last night. I am deeply sorry and the dog has been signed to the police to be destroyed. I hope the girl is ok.”
It has been claimed on social media that Paige’s niece intervened in the attack to try and protect the nine-year-old girl and suffered a bruised and sore leg.