A toddler suffered horrific injuries and needed more than 240 stitches to her face and three hours of specialist surgery after a STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER attacked her at her home, nearly biting off her nose.
Mayzee-Jo Gaspa was just 18 months old when the dog savaged her as she stood next to her mother in their kitchen in Archway, North London.
Today at Blackfriars Crown Court Gemma Neil, 29, the owner of 'Gully', was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place causing injury to a child.
The dog has since been destroyed on the order of the court. The court heard that Mayzee's mother Maria Dew, 34, was at home with Mayzee-Jo and another friend on SEPTEMBER 6 LAST YEAR when Neil called at their Archway home.
After going into the kitchen the dog suddenly attacked tiny Mayzee-Jo. The court heard Ms Dew was 'hysterical' as they battled to get the dog to release the child - BUT THE WOMEN WERE SCARED OF FURTHER INJURING MAYZEE-JO BECAUSE THE DOG HAD SUCH A STRONG HOLD OF HER.
When the dog eventually let go, Neil threw it from a second story balcony, telling the shocked family 'it's dead', before fleeing.
But the court heard instead of killing the animal, the dog sprang up and trotted off towards a group of children.
Following the attack Mayzee-Jo was left drenched in blood with half her nose severed and wounds to her lip and cheek. She is scarred for life.
After being rushed to St Bartholomew's Hospital Mayzee-Jo needed three hours of specialist plastic surgery to reattach her nose.
Her mother said Mayzee LOST FOUR TEETH in the attack and will need ongoing care and at least one more operation - in which SURGEONS WILL NEED DTO RE-BREAK HER NOSE as her face grows. The scar stretches from her nose all the way across her left cheek and down to her lip.
Neil was sentenced to four months, suspended for two years, and ordered to attended a drug rehabilitation program.
Speaking following the sentencing Ms Dew said: 'There really has been no justice for Mayzee.
'For allowing a dog to do what it did to a child, I really expected her to be behind bars.
'It's outrageous that something so horrible can happen and she can be allowed to walk free.
'It just shows that dogs, even the ones that their owners think are good-natured, can be dangerous and have devastating consequences.
'Especially around babies, dogs should be muzzled and kept on a short lead, or better yet, kept away all together.
'You never can never know what will make a dog snap or what it will do. I don't think I'll ever let my kids be around dogs again.'
She was banned from owning or having control of a dog indefinitely.
Speaking outside court, Ms Dew said: 'I had known Gemma for 15 years as we used to live near each other.
'We weren't close but I always felt sorry for her because she'd had a tough upbringing, so when she popped by I was polite.
'Mayzee was standing right next to me in the kitchen with her arm cuddling my leg.
'Suddenly the dog made a noise and before I could do anything it jumped up at her, head butted her and locked its teeth around her face.
'I was screaming. I was completely hysterical and I didn't know what to do.
'But my friend just kept saying 'don't pull the dog, you'll pull the baby's head off.'
'Then when the dog opened its mouth again to take a better hold of her I kicked it away and scooped Mayzee up in my arms.
'Her face was completely hanging off. Then Gemma just threw the dog over the balcony and said, 'it's dead now.'
'But the dog wasn't dead, it landed on its feet and then cool as anything, just wandered over to a group of playing children.
'There was blood everywhere, all over the ceilings and the walls and Mayzee was just screaming and screaming - it was horrific.
'My neighbour called 999 and the air ambulance landed on the reservoir behind our house and then the paramedics from the helicopter came with us in an ambulance to the Royal London Hospital.
'We had a police escort and made it in 12 minutes. They rushed her straight into surgery but I really thought she was going to die. When the surgeon came out she said that Mayzee needed so many stitches that she had stopped counting at 240. She lost four teeth and the doctors aren't sure what effect that will have on her. And she is going to need continuing care to look after her scar. They might even need to re-break her nose in one operation. Mayzee has always been an outgoing little girl. She never stopped singing and dancing. But the attack has dramatically affected her.
She's terrified of dogs and if she sees another dog that looks anything like the dog that attacked her she freezes and won't go anywhere near it."
'Now we just want to raise as much money for the Air Ambulance as possible to say thank you for saving Mayzee's life.'
SENTENCING JUDGE DEVA POLLAY SAID: 'YOU OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THE DANGERS THAT THESE DOGS CAN PRESENT, ESPECIALLY IN THE PRESENCE OF VERY YOUNG CHILDREN.
Mayzee lives with her mother Maria, father Michael Gaspa, a 33-year-old plumber and her two older brothers John, 8, and Teddy, 10.