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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Dog attack girl 'stable' after surgery
Liam and Lauren Skeldon
Liam and Lauren Skeldon were also bitten by the dogs
A girl badly mauled by two dogs in Wolverhampton is in a stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Five-year-old Leah Preston remains at Birmingham children's hospital where she underwent a second explorative operation on wounds suffered during the attack.

Leah was playing in her front garden in Hawsford Crescent, Low Hill, when she was attacked by the bull terriers on Thursday.

The two dogs then turned on their owner, next-door neighbour Jean Harvey, and her two young children.

Leah Preston
Doctors say Leah will need to undergo plastic surgery

Leah suffered bite wounds to her legs, arms and scalp.

"She was fine overnight and today she is in a stable condition," a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

Surgeons say Leah has lost tissue and will need extensive reconstructive plastic surgery in the future.

Dangerous animals

West Midlands police officers are investigating the incident on Thursday in which the two dogs are thought to have escaped from a metal cage.

Chief Superintendent Tom Duffin said arrests were possible.

That child looked like the victim of a shark attack

Carol Read, friend

"Whilst our emotions are initially around the anxiety and trauma caused, it is clear to everyone that these animals were dangerous.

"We need to inquire into what happened to see if any criminal offences have been disclosed," he said.

Family friend Carol Read arrived in the middle of the attack.

She said: "At first I thought they'd got a rag doll.

Dogs destroyed

"Then I saw there was one dog going for Leah's throat.

"That child looked like the victim of a shark attack."

Police wearing bullet-proof vests were called to the houses and the dogs were destroyed after being captured by vets.

Ms Harvey and her two children were treated for dog bites at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

The BBC's Ben McCarthy
"Neighbours describe the little girl being tossed around like a ragdoll"
Neighbour Carol Brinkworth
"The dogs tore the trousers off the girl - there was blood everywhere"
James Alcock of the British Veterinary Association
"The size of these dogs is such that a five year old wouldn't have any chance"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

12 Apr 02 | Scotland
Payout for dog attack boy
02 Jun 00 | Europe
Dog pack kills elderly woman
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