The aunt of a two-year-old girl screamed, "The dog's got the baby!", after her niece was allegedly savaged by the animal in her back garden.
Little Ella was playing in the garden of the house on Cockburn Street, Toxteth, Liverpool, with two other kids, aged four and six.
She suffered severe bite wounds to her face and body after up to FIVE "HUGE" DOGS, from a neighbour’s home, burst in and attacked her, it is claimed.
One of the animals - described by neighbours as "XXL AMERICAN BULL DOGS" - is said to be the one that was most aggressive.
Her aunt, who was looking after the youngsters for the afternoon, reportedly fought off the attack before scooping up her niece.
Running to the front of the house with the little girl, she reportedly screamed: "The dog's got the baby! The dog's got the baby!"
Ella was airlifted to hospital, where she remains in a serious but stable condition, with her distraught parents by her side.
This morning, her cousin, who didn't wish to be named, claimed the dog in the picture "grabbed" the child by the head after "jumping through the fence".
"She's lucky to be alive," she told Mirror Online. "The dog that had hold of her head jumped through the fence and grabbed her by the head."
She also said Ella's mum and dad were with their daughter in hospital.
Earlier today, another relative revealed Ella had undergone surgery - which had "gone well" - but that she has a long road to recovery.
The toddler is understood to have been taken into theatre last night after she was attacked by the dogs at around 3.30pm.
The screaming child had been airlifted to hospital from the property in Cockburn Street in a serious condition.
She was operated on at Alder Hey children’s hospital for up to seven hours, a family member told the Liverpool Echo.
During the terrifying attack, Ella's aunt is believed to have fought off the animals to rescue her.
The woman was taken to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital for treatment for minor injuries. She was later released from hospital.
Police arrested a 35-year-old man at the scene and seized five dogs and five puppies from his address.
The man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated Section 3 (under the Dangerous Dogs Act) of having a dangerous dog/dogs out of control.
He is still in police custody.
Specialist officers are working to establish the breed of dog.
Ella, whom one resident described as "very smiley and adorable," is believed to have been playing in a garden beside where the 35-year-old man lives.
After the attack yesterday, chief inspector Dave Westby, said: “This was a horrific attack which has resulted in a two-year-old girl suffering extensive injuries to her head and body.
“The investigation is in its early stages, but it is believed that the child was playing in the back garden of a relative’s address with two other children, aged four and six years, when a number of dogs from a nearby house managed to get in to the garden.
“At this stage it is believed that the little girl was attacked by more than one dog, and officers are trying to establish how many dogs were involved in the incident.
“Fortunately, a relative who was in the house was able to rescue the child from the dogs.”
Paramedics attended the scene after the attack. They found the toddler had suffered serious injuries to her head and body.
Residents told the Echo that police had placed a cordon across Cockburn Street, Liverpool just after 4pm - and had refused to let them cross.
Video from the scene shows a police officer standing guard in the front garden of a home along the street.
North West Air Ambulance confirmed a two-year-old girl was taken to Alder Hey Hospital by helicopter at 4.10pm.
Chief Inspector Westby added: “I want to reassure people that the little girl is now getting the best possible care and treatment for her injuries at Alder Hey Children’s’ Hospital.
"An extensive investigation is underway to establish exactly what has happened and to determine how many dogs were involved in the incident and the breed of dogs involved. I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident, who may have information which could help us with our investigation to come forward as soon as possible.
“This case highlights in the starkest terms the potential dangers of dogs and I would appeal to anyone with information about dangerous dogs in their area to contact us so that we can take pro-active action.”
House-to-house inquiries have been carried out in the area and Crime Scene Investigators are carrying out forensic examinations at the scene.