“The dog’s got the baby” screamed frantic aunt as dog savages girl
The aunt of a two-year-old girl screamed "The dog's got the baby!" after her niece was savaged by the animal as she played in her garden.
The girl, with two other children aged four and six, was playing in the garden of the house on Cockburn Street, Toxteth, Liverpool when she suffered a "savage" attack by one or more of the neighbour's "huge" dogs.
Her aunt, looking after the youngsters for the afternoon, fought off the attack and ran to the front of the house carrying the child as neighbours ran to help.
The animals were kept in the garden next door but got through a hole in the fence, according to locals.
Neighbours described the dogs as "XXL American Bull Dogs" which were being bred for sale.
The toddler suffered serious injuries to her head and body in the incident on Sunday afternoon.
A 35-year-old man from Toxteth has been arrested on suspicion of having a dangerous dog/dogs out of control.
The neighbour lived at the address with his partner and three children.
Emergency services were first called to the house at about 3.40pm on Sunday after reports a child had been bitten by a dog and a woman had also been injured.
One neighbour described hearing the girl scream as the dog attacked her.
Another said she saw the aunt dash from the house carrying the girl, called Ella, screaming: "The dog's got the baby! The dog's got the baby!"
The neighbour added: "I can't even actually think about it now," and was too upset to speak further. None of the locals were willing to give their names.
The girl was treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken by air ambulance to Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
Her condition is described as serious but not life-threatening.
The aunt who rescued the child from the dogs was taken to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital where she received treatment for minor injuries.
She was later released from hospital.
Police seized five dogs and five puppies from the home of the man who was arrested.
Neighbours said the dogs were kept in cages at the back of the house.
Specialist officers are working to establish the breed of dog.
Chief Inspector Dave Westby said: "This was a horrific attack which has resulted in a two-year-old girl suffering extensive injuries to her head and body.
"The investigation is in its early stages, but it is believed that the child was playing in the back garden of a relative's address with two other children, aged four and six years, when a number of dogs from a nearby house managed to get in to the garden.
"At this stage it is believed that the little girl was attacked by more than one dog, and officers are trying to establish how many dogs were involved in the incident.
"Fortunately, a relative who was in the house was able to rescue the child from the dogs.
"I want to reassure people that the little girl is now getting the best possible care and treatment for her injuries at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
"An extensive investigation is under way to establish exactly what has happened and to determine how many dogs were involved in the incident and the breed of dogs involved.
"I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident, who may have information which could help us with our investigation, to come forward as soon as possible."
A large police presence remained at the scene on Monday, with forensic officers in white boiler suits seen going to and from the house.
Anyone with information concerning the incident can call detectives on 0151 777 4065, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.