Girl recovering after savage dog attack

A six-year-old girl was recovering in hospital yesterday after being tossed around "like a rag doll" by a pit bull terrier in a savage attack.

A six-year-old girl was recovering in hospital yesterday after being tossed around "like a rag doll" by a pit bull terrier in a savage attack.

The dog turned on Tyla Cole as she arrived with her father, Marcus, at a friend's house on the way to a christening on Sunday.

Initially, the American pit bull looked pleased to see them and was wagging its tail. But moments later, the dog attacked.

Mr Cole, 34, of Dixon Road, Cromer, managed to pry the animal off his daughter - but not before she suffered terrible injuries.

Tyla, who has undergone two operations since the attack and will need physiotherapy to help her walk again, was still in hospital recovering last night.

The dog has been put down.

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"It gave no intention that it was about to attack, it looked happy to see us then out of nowhere it pounced," Mr Cole said. "Tyla was like a rag doll being dragged around. I managed to get it off her back, but then it bit her thigh, so I prized open its jaws and tried to separate the two.

"The attack could only have lasted about 30 seconds but it seemed never-ending.

"When I got her to safety, people had to put a blanket over her because the dog had ripped off her new dress."

Tyla has had two operations, including plastic surgery, to try to repair the damage to her back and right thigh but will be permanently scarred. She also needs physiotherapy to help her to be able to walk again.

Her mother, Claire Storey, 27, of Woodrow Avenue, Holt, said: "She's been incredibly brave about the whole thing. To be honest she was more upset about her new dress for the christening being ripped.

"The scary thing is that we didn't leave her alone with a dog or provoke the dog, we just couldn't have seen it coming. From now on I'll always feel uneasy about how dogs are going to react and apparently Tyla may need counselling to recover from the shock of it."

Mr Cole said: "I just want to warn parents out there to be so so wary. You always read about it happening to other people but think there must be some warning sign but there really isn't, it's terrifying."

This is the most recent in a spate of dog attacks. Last month a five-month-old baby was killed by two Rottweilers in Leicester and in Yarmouth a man was attacked by a German shepherd cross.

Sophie Wilkinson, spokesman for the RSPCA said: "It's a common misconception that pit bulls need muzzles in public although they are one of the four dog breeds covered under the dangerous dogs act.

"We would advise parents to never leave a child alone with a dog and to always keep an eye on them.

"Owners should look out for any strange behaviour in their dog and if they do spot something then to take them to dog training classes, because ultimately if dogs do something it's the responsibility of the owners."