SOAKED in blood, toddler Natasha Marriett struggles to open one eye after a vicious dog attack that left her needing facial surgery.
The two-year-old underwent a three-hour operation after she was mauled by the Staffordshire bull terrier during a visit to a relative’s home in Downhill, Sunderland.
Natasha suffered a broken nose, as well as needing stitches to cuts on her face
She also had to have two teeth removed so surgeons could stitch wounds inside her mouth.
Medics told the family their little girl was lucky to still be able to see after the animal’s teeth sunk in just centimetres from her right eye.
Natasha’s nine-year-old sister Rachael watched in horror as the dog pounced and started biting into her on Sunday evening.
A young relative attempted to pull the dog away before Natasha’s mum, Margaret Baxter, 41, rushed into the room of the relative’s home.
The toddler was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital where she received treatment.
Margaret, of South Hetton, said: “It all happened so quickly.
“The kids were playing with the dog in the dining room and we were in the kitchen when we heard a noise like someone falling down the stairs.
“It was a crashing sound and then just loads of noise. We went through and saw them trying to pull the dog off Natasha.
“I flew over to where she was and stayed with her while we waited for the ambulance.
“It was horrendous and difficult to believe what happened.”
Natasha was finally discharged from hospital and allowed back home on Tuesday.
But her family fear the attack may have long-term effects on the little girl, who is too scared to leave her home.
“She’s up and about now but she won’t go out,” Margaret said. “She’s a bit self-conscious of it all, which makes sense because her face is a mess.
“There’s absolutely nothing I can do except hope and pray she gets better and isn’t scarred for life.
“Doctors have said it’s too early to tell yet what the long-term injuries may be. We’re all just praying at the moment.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman confirmed they received a report of the attack from the ambulance service on Sunday at just after 10.25pm.
She added: “Officers attended the scene where the girl was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital to be treated for a cut to her eye and lip.
“Her injuries are not life-threatening. Inquiries have been carried out into the incident.”