Staffie attack left Archway toddler’s face ‘hanging off’
- Credit: National Pictures
The mother of a toddler whose face was “hanging off” after a gruesome attack from a Staffordshire bull terrier has vowed to never let her near a dog again.
Mayzee-Jo Gaspa, who was just 18 months old at the time, was cuddling her mother’s leg in the kitchen of her home in Tremlett Grove, Archway, when the dog named “Gully” headbutted her and “locked its teeth around her face” in September last year, leaving her needing 240 stitches.
Her 34-year-old mother Maria Dew was hysterical as friends battled to get the dog to release the child, but they were scared of further injuring her because the dog had such a strong hold of her.
Once the animal had released the child, its owner, Gemma Neil – who had been invited in by Ms Dew – then threw her dog off of the balcony, apparently saying “it’s dead now” before running off.
Ms Dew said: “There was blood everywhere, all over the ceilings and the walls and Mayzee was just screaming and screaming – it was horrific.
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“Mayzee has always been an outgoing little girl – she never stopped singing and dancing. But the attack has dramatically affected her.
“She’s terrified of dogs and if she sees another dog that looks anything like the dog that attacked her she freezes and won’t go anywhere near it.”
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Mayzee was taken to St Bartholomew’s Hospital where it took three hours of specialist plastic surgery to reattach her nose.
Her mother said Mayzee lost four teeth in the attack and will need ongoing care and at least one more operation – in which surgeons will need to re-break her nose – as her face grows.
Speaking after Neil, 29, of Twyford House, Drayton Park, was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Blackfriars Crown Court on Tuesday, Ms Dew said: “There really has been no justice for Mayzee.
“For allowing a dog to do what it did to a child, I really expected her to be behind bars.
“It’s outrageous that she can be allowed to walk free.
“It just shows that dogs, even the ones that their owners think are good-natured, can be dangerous and have devastating consequences.
“Especially around babies, dogs should be muzzled and kept on a short lead, or better yet, kept away altogether.
“You never can never know what will make a dog snap. I don’t think I’ll ever let my kids be around dogs again.”
The dog has been destroyed since the incident.