The mother of a five-year-old girl mauled by a Pocket Bully Dog that ‘ripped her face off’ says her daughter’s screams will ‘haunt’ her.
Five-year-old Farrah-Leigh Nichol had gone to pet the Pocket Bully after asking permission from the owner around 6.30pm on Saturday near a Nisa store in Teesside.
But as the schoolgirl patted the animal’s head, it leapt up – biting off a huge chunk of its left cheek.
Her father Alex Nichol, 30, chased the Bully and picked up his daughter before she was rushed to hospital where she is being treated for serious facial injuries.
Farrah-Leigh’s mother, Danielle Kemp, 32, and Mr Nichol are with the youngster as she prepares for skin grafting operations.
Ms Kemp told MailOnline: ‘What I saw and the screams I heard will haunt me, she really didn’t deserve this.
Five-year-old Farrah-Leigh Nichol (pictured) was injured when she was mauled by a dog after petting it on Saturday
Yet as the schoolgirl gently patted the animal’s head, it leapt up – biting off a huge chunk of its left cheek
She underwent surgery and is set to undergo two more following the horrific incident outside a Nisa store on Saturday night
This is about the devastating injury to little Farrah-Leigh Nichol after she was shot by a bully-like dog outside a corner store
Farrah-Leigh Nichol had gone to pet the Pocket Bully after asking permission from the owner around 6.30pm on Saturday outside a Nisa store in Teesside (pictured)
“I was making tea when Alex came running in with Farrah-Leigh.
“Our heads are everywhere right now. My little girl has already had an operation and she has two more to come.
“She has one tomorrow morning and another in two weeks, she was very brave.”
“The support we have received from local people has been overwhelming, we cannot thank them enough.”
The family live near the shop in Norton Road, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and the girl was with her father when the dog struck without warning.
The animal’s owner waited at the scene when emergency services arrived and the dog has now been put down.
Dog allegedly involved in attack on five-year-old Farrah-Leigh Nichol
The family live close to the store on Norton Road, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and the young girl was accompanied by her father when the dog struck without warning.
Mr Nichol, who works as a tiler, said: ‘We had gone to the store together and she had paid for bread at the till.
“We got out and I pressed the button to cross the road and she said, ‘Can I pet this dog?
‘I said, ‘Yes, but you’ll have to ask the man first.’
‘She said, ‘Can I pet your dog? and he said, ‘Yes, no problem.’
She went to pat the dog on the head. She loves dogs. She caressed him very gently.
“The dog jumped and she jumped back and I thought it was luck.
“But the next minute I saw her curled up on the floor and she said, ‘Daddy’.
“She was crying and her whole face was off. His face had disappeared. It was just awful.
Her father, Alex Nichol, 30, said: “We have three dogs ourselves (pictured, Farrah-Leigh with one of the family dogs). We have a Staffie and two XL Bullies. But I would be happy to muzzle them
Farrah’s mother, Danielle Kemp, 32, and father Alex Nichol are with the youngster as she prepares for skin grafting operations
Mr. Nichol rushed to his daughter who was still in dangerous proximity to the animal.
He added: “I ran to get her but the dog was right behind her.
‘I started it. I dabbed on it. I picked up my daughter and went home.
“She was taken to hospital and she is stable and she had stitches. But there is still so much to do.
The Pocket Bully, which is a cross between an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Patterdale Terrier, has now been put down.
Farrah-Leigh’s father, Mr Nichol, 30 (pictured), said: ‘If all dogs were muzzled it would just eliminate the risk. If it saved just one child, it would be worth it’
He lived just down from the house that Farrah-Leigh shares with her mother and father.
Following a series of recent dog attacks on children, Mr Nichol now believes all breeds should be muzzled.
He said, “We have three dogs ourselves. We have a Staffie and two XL Bullies. But I would be happy to muzzle them.
“If all dogs were muzzled it would just eliminate the risk. If it saved a single child, it would be worth it.
“Always beware of dogs you don’t know.
“My daughter loved dogs, but this incident obviously gave her a complete scare factor.”
Her father added: “She was crying and her whole face was blank. His face had disappeared. It was just awful’
The Pocket Bully, which is a cross between an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Patterdale Terrier, has now been put down
“We are all still in shock right now. We can’t believe this happened.
Family friend Kirsty Lavender, 32, said: “She’s such a brave and strong little girl, she’s kind but she still needs a skin graft to reform her face.”
“Her mum and dad are very worried about her, of course, but she’s bounced back really well so far.”
The incident came after dog attacks were revealed to have forced British children to undergo surgery more than 1,000 times last year, including almost 400 cases where the child was under four.
The shocking figures showed the total number of hospitalizations from dog attacks nearly doubled from 4,699 in 2007/8 to 9,336 in 2022/23.
Dr John Tulloch, senior lecturer in veterinary public health at the University of Liverpool, has previously said the way Britons care for dogs needs to change.
“We know the dogs are now being kept at home for more than seven or eight hours on their own and they are going to be frustrated.
“A lot of dogs don’t get the exercise needs – their health needs aren’t being met and so they have the potential to be more anxious and nervous.”
“If you keep a dog in an awful environment and he’s not groomed, he’ll have more behavioral problems and be more likely to bite.”
A neighbor who lives near where this latest attack happened said: ‘The little girl asked to pet the dog and it went for her.
“Her dad was right there to help her and he would start the thing to get her away from her. She did nothing to provoke it and the owner seemed happy that she was petting the dog.
“Such an unpredictable dog shouldn’t have gone out without a muzzle.”
Cleveland police say Farrah-Leigh was taken to hospital for treatment and a dog was seized.
A force spokesman said the dog’s owner remained at the scene after the attack.
“Officers attended the scene minutes after the report was called and provided medical assistance to the girl while waiting for the ambulance,” the force spokesman added.
“The girl suffered significant facial injuries and is being treated in hospital.
“The dog’s owner remained at the scene after the attack and cooperated with the police. The dog was seized.
“We politely ask people not to post any photos relating to the incident and to avoid speculation on social media while officers continue their investigation.”
A North East Ambulance Service spokesperson added: ‘We were called at 6.25pm (Saturday) to reports of an incident involving a dog bite in the Norton area of Stockton.
“We sent a paramedic team who treated a patient with facial injuries before transporting him to hospital.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise funds to send Farrah-Leigh to Disneyland with her family once she is well enough.
Shauna Lee Rollinson, 26, who set up the page, said: “Farrah-Leigh is in my granddaughter’s class at school.
“She tells my daughter all the time that she would like to go to Disneyland.
“If we can make this happen for this gorgeous girl, I will cry my eyes out.
“The support so far has been outstanding.”
Anyone who wants to donate to send Farrah-Leigh to Disney World once she feels well enough can do so. here.