Now aged three, Ava has made an almost full recovery with minimal scarring but her mom, Laken, 25, has said her family is still dealing with the trauma of the horrifying attack.Mother of two, Laken, said: ‘I was distraught. She was bitten around her eye, on her forehead, cheeks, lips and nose.
‘I will never get the images of what the dog did to her out of my head, I was truly traumatized. She has had to have a lot of plastic surgery and we are so grateful for how she looks today.
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‘She was bitten so badly that the doctors were unsure if there was any damage to her brain, the cuts were that deep. This has scarred her for life and she has not been the same since the attack happened.
‘We had to get rid of our own dog because we were scared and so was she. Whenever Ava hears a dog bark she starts panicking, it’s been horrible for us.’
The incident took place just a few days before Ava’s second birthday in March 2019. It was her very first day of being looked after by a new babysitter, who Laken said she researched heavily before choosing her as Ava’s care-giver.
She even knew all about the resident pit bull boxer who lives with the babysitter and as they owned a dog at the time. Laken and her partner, Max Ventura, 29, said they were comfortable with allowing Ava to be around an unknown dog. Laken claims she was told by the babysitter the dog would be kept in a separate room to Ava for the duration of her stay, but for reasons Laken is unsure of, the dog and Ava were left together without supervision with horrific consequences.
Her mum said that it looked like the dog had ‘ripped her face off’ (Picture: Charmaine Beresford/SWNS) Milo the dog attacked Molly when she went with her mum to buy some secondhand bunk beds (Picture: Charmaine Beresford/SWNS)Last month the dog’s owner, Juliet Marsh, was found guilty of being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control at Cheltenham Magistrates Court.
‘I honestly thought the babysitter was a perfect match for us’, said Lake, who has a second daughter, Bella, aged one.
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‘I was told the pit bull was super well-trained and is used to having kids running around the house. I have always trusted dogs and always thought ‘it’s not the dog, it’s the owner’, but obviously that’s not the case.
‘I was driving a school bus when I was called about what happened and all I was told that Ava had banged her head and was bleeding badly. The babysitter didn’t tell me the truth straight away because she knew it’d scare me.
‘When I arrived the ambulance was there and there were blood stains on the hallway floor.’Due to the severity of her wounds Ava was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and was put under the care of a top team of plastic surgeons. She underwent emergency surgery later that night to stitch up the gaping wounds and over the last 18 months has endured several plastic surgery procedures.
Surgeons have successfully managed to repair Ava’s face with miraculous results. She has very little scarring and thankfully has escaped from suffering any long term physical side effects such as a loss of sight or facial movement. The attack, however, has had a profound lasting impact not only on Ava’s mental well-being but also on Laken’s state of mind.
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She said: ‘It still really troubles me and I have suffered with severe PTSD because of what happened. No one wants to see what I saw happen to their child and I get very anxious about making sure I keep her safe.
‘Ava has struggled with panic attacks and nightmares and only now is she beginning to get back to normal. It has been a really hard 18 months for us.
‘I would say this acts as a warning to other parents that any dog can bite, you can never be too cautious.’
Laken and Max have launched legal proceedings against the owner of the dog which are yet to be concluded.
Animal control officers have also been involved in dealing with the aftermath of the incident and it’s understood the dog is still living with its owners.
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