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from, England


Girl, 5, 'tossed like a rag doll' by dogs

May 17, 2002, 11:27am

A five-year-old girl suffered horrific injuries when she was savaged by two dogs in the garden of her Wolverhampton home.

One witness said Leah Preston was hurled around like a "rag doll" by the two bull terriers and another witness said she looked like the victim of a shark attack.

The youngster was set upon by the next-door neighbours' dogs as she played in the back garden of her home in Hawksford Crescent, Low Hill, at around 4.20 yesterday afternoon. The dogs owner's two children were also injured.

John Brinkworth, aged 57, who lives across the road from Leah, said he heard hysterical screaming and looked out of his window.

"I saw the dog mauling what I thought was a piece of rag, tossing it around like I don't know what.

"It was like it was throwing around a rag doll. The mother was screaming and shouting and trying to get the dog off her.

"It was just grotesque - it was like something you would see in a horror movie. I had never seen anything so ferocious.

"There was blood everywhere, everyone seemed to be covered in blood."

Family friend, Carol Read, of nearby Showell Road, arrived at the scene to find Leah's mum screaming for help to save her child.

"I saw there was one dog going for Leah's throat. That child looked like the victim of a shark attack," she said.

Leah has serious leg, groin and arm injuries and is today waiting to undergo reconstructive surgery at Birmingham Children's Hospital following the attack.

Jean Harvey, the owner of the dogs, and her two children Liam, aged 5, and Lauren, 3, were also bitten , and taken to New Cross Hospital with bite wounds.

The eight-month-old do-gs, thought to be Bull Mastiff Staffordshire bull terrier cross breeds, were destroyed.

Acting Inspector Clive Isherwood, of Wednesfield police station, said: "Any injury regarding any person is bad but when young children are involved it makes it even worse.

"The first officer at the scene,an ex-dog handler, said it was the worst bite he had ever seen. Not only may there be physical scars but the mental scars are hard to endure, particularly for children."

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