A couple were forced to have their pet dog put down after it savaged their 11-year-old daughter’s mouth in an unprovoked attack in their Bury St Edmunds home.
Zak, a two-year-old Jack Russell cross, attacked Cloey Bird as she leant over her younger sister to give him a kiss.
Cloey’s father Michael rushed her to the A&E department of West Suffolk Hospital, where she had to have some torn gums in her mouth cut away.
“He went for her for no reason - we never, ever imagined he would do that,” said her mother Karen, who was working in the hospital’s restaurant when it happened.
She added: “Cloey moved her hand away and blood was pouring from her mouth. My youngest daughter was screaming.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It’s the last thing I expected to happen.”
“At the hospital, people saw the state of her face and said she could go first - they were really kind,” she said.
Cloey was put on a course of antibiotics and referred to a specialist clinic to have her mouth and teeth examined.
She was unable to eat for days and did not return to St James’ Middle School until a week later.
Karen, 32, said: “She couldn’t eat at all. She lived off smoothies for three days, then mashed up banana and Weetabix through a straw because it hurt so much.”
She says the attack three weeks ago has left both of her daughters traumatised, with Cloey now afraid of dogs and Aimee, seven, still suffering from nightmares.
The family had had Zak since he was six weeks old but Michael and Karen think he may have acted out of jealousy as Cloey got closer to her sister, who he was snuggled up with on the sofa.
“Because he bit a child, we have had to have him put down - it broke my heart,” said Karen, who wants other families to learn from her daughter’s ordeal.
She said: “People shouldn’t trust dogs, they’re wild animals. No matter how well you bring them up or how well you treat them, no-one should be bending down kissing a dog. A split second and everything can change.”
Cloey has no visible scars on her face and, although still sore, she is recovering well.
“She was lucky, very lucky,” said Karen.