The mother of a five-year-old girl has told of her heartache each time she looks at her daughter's disfigured face.
Young Alexis Douglas was playing at her sister's friend's house in Melbourne earlier this year, when A NEIGHBOUR'S PIT BULL attacked the little girl.
Left with deep gashes of up to 10cm, her mother Monique Douglas told Daily Mail Australia that not a day goes by that she cries for her daughter who has been left so traumatised that she is unable to play outside by herself. But what has outraged Mrs Douglas even more is that the dog's owner escaped without a conviction for not registering his pit bull and was instead handed a $1500 fine by the court.
It was a week after Alexis's fifth birthday when Mrs. Douglas received a call from her distraught teenage daughter, Maddie, on January 23. The 16-year-old had just witnessed her younger sister being mauled by a pit bull.
Mrs Douglas rushed over to the home, only to be told by her husband Andrew not to look at her youngest daughter. This was because Alexis had been bitten on the left side of her face with gashes from her middle forehead, the side of her temple to the left of her cheek. The five-year-old needed 50 stitches to her face and still requires treatment for the next three years, which Mrs Douglas says will cost nearly $10,000.
So Mrs Douglas was infuriated on Thursday when Frankston Magistrates' Court handed dog owner Edward Powell a $1500 fine and no convictions, as he had put down his pitbull soon after the horrific incident occurred.
'He made himself out to look like the nice guy because he had originally rescued the dog from a factory but no questions were asked about why the dog had been abandoned in the first place,' Mrs Douglas told Daily Mail Australia.
'And because he put down the dog - despite having a close relationship with it - even though he didn't register it, it all makes me really angry.
'I had to sit through all the lies and the fact that he walks away with just $1500 is a disgrace.
'Even Ed's son told us that the dog had always been aggressive and that it growled at him all the time.
'I would've felt better if he was charged or given a fine of maybe $10,000 to $15,000 but at the end of the day, what his dog did to my daughter's face is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives.'
Due to her facial injuries, Alexis was not able to attend her first day of school this year and spent the first term huddled inside the classroom with her teachers close by for fear of going outside.
She also goes to school with bandages on the left side of her face and further requires day and night masks, as well as silicon patches to help heal the permanent scarring.
Mrs Douglas says she also massages her youngest daughter's face every night to reduce the injuries.
'The scarring is getting better but I work hard and ensure that I don't miss out a day or night of treating my daughter's face,' she said.
'But I cry every day for my daughter and Maddie is also heartbroken to see her sister like this. She blames herself for the attack.
'People don't understand what we've been through but I guess there's nothing we can do now as the verdict has been handed down.'
Although Alexis has overcome her fear of the school playground, she is still afraid to leave her mother's side when it comes to public outdoor areas.
'Even the other day my older daughter was taking Alexis to the park without me and she started hyperventilating and was just hysterical,' Mrs Douglas said.
Defence lawyer Michael Brown said Mr Powell did not register the rescued dog as he was relocating to a new area, the Herald Sun reports. Magistrate Paul Smith sentenced Mr Powell with a fine but no conviction as the dog owner had a clear record and voluntarily destroyed the pitbull.
'He wasn't aware the dog had an aggressive nature,' he said.