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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Girl, six, mauled by rottweilers
Sophia Kimpton
Sophia Kimpton was attacked while on holiday in County Antrim
A six-year-old London girl has undergone plastic surgery after being mauled by two rottweilers at holiday accommodation in County Antrim.

Sophia Kimpton suffered 17 injuries to her head, arms and back during the incident at Conagher self-catering chalets, on a working farm in Dervock.

Her mother fought off the dogs which were later shot by the farmer. The chalet owner refused to comment.

The Tourist Board has suspended the tourism classification of the business.

It said it was investigating the incident.

Sophia underwent plastic surgery to repair her ears at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald. She also has lacerations and puncture wounds.

Her mother, Natasha Beckett, said she thought her daughter was going to die during Tuesday's attack.

"They were attacking her like a bit of meat, eating her and biting her," she said.

Natasha Beckett
They were attacking her like a bit of meat, eating her and biting her
Natasha Beckett

"They were horrifically big. We were yelling to get them off and they were not budging. My husband was kicking one of them, I was kicking the other one off. They were just attached to her head.

"I used myself as a human shield. The blood was just pouring out of her.

"They were like dogs possessed, they were like wolves. They just wanted to get to Sophia, to kill her."

"She kept saying to me: 'Mummy was I going to die?'"

Victim support

Natasha said her child rolled herself onto her front, which saved her face.

She asked if the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, who approved the family accommodation, was aware that the owner kept dogs.

"This was advertised as a family home and you do not expect any dogs of that kind to be on a working farm, where there is children," she said.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board said it was shocked to learn of the attack.

It said it had spoken to the family and offered support through the Tourist Board's victim support fund.

"A code of conduct exists in relation to the promotion and advertising of all tourist accommodation," it said.

Caroline Adams of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board said they could not close down the business.

"The legal responsibility is with the operators and it can never be us as marketing agents and inspectors," she said.

"So therefore we need to be more specific and ask people to sign up to what they promised to undertake, not just for inspection but all year round," she said.

Ballymoney Borough Council is also investigating the attack.

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