Toddler left in pool of blood after babysitter’s pit bull ripped her face open

Ava Ventura pictured after the dog attack
Ava was left with several deep wounds on her face following the terrifying ordeal (Picture: Laken Marie/
A one-year-old girl needed to have facial plastic surgery after her babysitter’s pit bull tore her face open. Ava Ventura, from Santa Clarita, California, was left with gaping wounds on the side of her face after being bitten three times by a pit bull boxer cross whilst being looked after by a qualified care-giver. The vicious attack happened in March last year whilst Ava’s mother, Laken Marie, a teacher, was at work. She was horrified to received a call from Ava’s babysitter to say there was ‘blood dripping’ from the little girl’s face. The dog had ripped huge holes in Ava’s face after burying its teeth into her flesh and she required several hours of plastic surgery to repair her shredded facial features.
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.
Ava Ventura
Ava’s face was badly damaged and she required several hours of plastic surgery to repair her shredded flesh (Picture: Laken Marie/
Ava Ventura
Ava was airlifted to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles, California, for emergency treatment (Picture: Laken Marie/
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.

Ava picture in March 2019 before the attack took place
Ava picture in March 2019 before the attack took place (Picture: Laken Marie/
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.

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‘I honestly thought the babysitter was a perfect match for us’, said Lake, who has a second daughter, Bella, aged one.

‘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.

Ava Ventura
Ava Ventura
Ava was being looked after by a new babysitter for the first time on the day of the incident (Picture: Laken Marie/

‘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.

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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.

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 pictured with her dad, Max, mom, Laken and little sister, Bella
Ava pictured with her dad, Max, mom, Laken and little sister, Bella (Picture: Laken Marie/
Ava Ventura
Ava has been left with minimal scarring thanks to the efforts of her team of plastic surgeons (Picture: Laken Marie/

‘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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