Warning: Graphic images.
A seven-year-old girl has been left scarred for life after her lip was bitten off by a dog as she stroked it.
Kiera Young was outside a pub while out celebrating a relative’s birthday when the Akita dog sank its teeth into her face.
She needed three hours of surgery and is now recovering well but has been permanently scarred and left with a fear of dogs.
Kiera and her family had gone out for a meal to celebrate the 60th birthday of her grandmother’s sister.
As they walked towards the pub in Boston, Lincolnshire, Kiera spotted the dog outside and stroked it after asking the owners if it was okay.
Her grandmother Sharon Young, 57, said: ‘They told her the dog was child-friendly and had been told it was fine to stroke, so she petted it.
The couple who were sitting outside with their black-and-white Akita went into the pub and came back out when Kiera asked to stroke it again.
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It was at that moment she was bitten in the face by the snarling dog.
‘The owners pulled it back and that caused the gum to pull away from her lip,’ Sharon added.
Kiera, from Nottingham, was in so much pain Sharon and her nephew decided to drive her to hospital instead of wait for an ambulance.
‘She’s now out and recovering well, she’s a bit better but is still wary of dogs,’ said Sharon.
‘We’ve told her that not all dogs are the same but it will take some time for her to get over what’s happened.’
‘She’s still scared of dogs and can’t eat very well as the injury went down to her bone.
Kiera used to love playing with her grandmother’s chocolate Labrador Reggie, but since the Sharon had to re-home him.
‘She started to get wary of him because he was getting bigger.
‘She now backs off and keeps her distance when we see dogs in the street.’
Sharon says her granddaughter, who has autism, has been ‘mentally scared’ by the incident but said the family are ‘doing their best’ to help.
It's certainly unpleasant to take your dog outside when it's snowing or raining, but don't forget that dogs' paws are just as sensitive to heat as human skin.
She says police were called after the attack but have now told the family they aren’t pressing charges because the dog showed no aggression before.
‘The dog could have easily gone for her throat,’ said Sharon.
‘How many times does this need to happen before the police do something.’
Lincolnshire Police have since confirmed the owners were not charged and said the dog had been destroyed.