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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Toddler-mauling dog may be killed
A dog that mauled a toddler is likely to be destroyed, police have said.

Kira Neal, who is 22 months old, suffered serious facial injuries in the attack by a terrier at a Dorset pub on Saturday afternoon.

Dorset Police seized the dog and are planning to gain a court order for the animal to be put down.

A 46-year-old North Dorset woman and a 48-year-old Bournemouth man were summoned on Sunday in connection with the attack but neither was arrested.

My friend was holding a tissue to keep her face together
Sam Hallows

The attack happened in the garden of the Famous Old Pines in Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, where Kira was playing with her mother Sam Hallows.

The toddler, who lives in the Winton area, was taken to Poole Hospital where she underwent an operation for her facial injuries and is currently in a stable condition.

The dog's owner, who was at the pub and is also from Bournemouth, has not been arrested but is helping police with their inquiries.

Court order

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "The dog has not been put down and at this time the dog owner is not prepared to have the dog put down.

"Dorset Police anticipates applying in due course for an order from magistrates to allow the dog to be put down."

Kira's parents have been at her bedside since the attack and said they had been left in shock.

Ms Hallows, 26, said: "I think I just froze. I had a friend's mum holding on to me from behind, and my friend was holding a tissue to keep Kira's face together, as it were.

"It was just pure shock. I was just holding on to her so tight. I just couldn't believe it."

Kira's father, chef Philip Neal, who said his daughter had had between 50 and 60 stitches to her face, added: "She came within millimetres of losing her left eye.

"The surgeons have done a fantastic job and we have been told that because she is so young her skin will grow so there shouldn't be much scarring."

Dorset Police were continuing to investigate the attack but were not prepared to release details of the dog's breed.


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