A 2-year-old girl and her great aunt were playing in their garden when, suddenly, four large dogs charged at the toddler and mauled her, changing her life forever.
"It was one of the worst things I've come across," a man identified only as Steve, the first paramedic to respond to the gruesome incident in May, told the Liverpool Echo. "I've [seen] dog bites before but this poor girl was absolutely shredded by those dogs. It wasn't just her head and neck -- it was her whole body. She was in such a bad way and if I'm honest, I wasn't convinced she was going to make it at first."
Though the girl did pull through, she had to undergo several surgeries for the deep cuts to her cheek and puncture wounds that cut all the way through to her bone. The Daily Mail notes that her right cheek was two-thirds detached from her face.
"She has life changing injuries to her head and face," added Steve, who visited her in the hospital and is raising money for her. "She's lost the sensory function of her bottom lip so she can no longer feel it, and that will be with her for the rest of her life. She is also severely traumatized."
The girl's mom said in court that her daughter, who is now 3 years old, is "hurt and confused" and is no longer the extroverted, bubbly tot she used to be, according to the Daily Mail.
The mom said in court that when she saw her daughter in the ambulance, the girl was so badly injured that she "could not make out any of her facial features."
The dogs, each of whom weighed more than 150 pounds -- belonged to 35-year-old breeder Andrew McGowan, who was sentenced in June to 18 months in prison and banned from owning dogs for 12 years.
He had up to 18 of the animals at his home in Liverpool, England, and was not home when the four got loose and attacked.
Two of the animals have been euthanized.
Though a judge called the man irresponsible, owning and breeding the dogs is not illegal under the 1991 United Kingdom Dangerous Dogs Act, which heavily restricts ownership and bans breeding of the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro, according to Canine Journal. However, since the dogs are so-called "American Bullies" -- a cross between American bulldogs and mastiffs -- they are not subject to such bans or restrictions.
Intact (non-neutered) male dogs are behind an estimated 80 percent of all fatal dog bites, notes AAHA. According to the website, altering dogs reduces their instincts toward territorial aggression.