14/08/2014 12:53 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dog's Tooth Left Embedded In Toddler's Cheek After Attack

Dog's tooth left embedded in toddler's cheek after attack

A dog bit a 16-month-old girl's face so hard it left a tooth embedded in her cheek.

Lexi McCaffery suffered four puncture wounds, a split lip and a burst vein when she tried to cuddle the seven-year-old Japanese Akita.

Her mum, Gemma Garside, 20, fears her daughter will now be scarred for life and has set up a Facebook page demanding that police destroy the dog, despite it being legal to own.

Lexi was attacked as she tried to stroke and hug the dog, called Thi, which was being cared for by a friend in St. Austell, Cornwall.

Mother-of-two Gemma told her local paper: "All of a sudden it went for her face. I screamed and it let go but her face was pouring with blood and it just wouldn't stop.

"I can't believe this has happened, I'm going out of my head over it. I haven't slept and I keep having flashbacks.

"I think she will be scarred for life, although they may fade as she gets older.

"The dog needs to be put down and we'll go through all the right channels and not stop until it is. It's a tragedy waiting to happen."

Her Facebook page, Justice for Lexi, has amassed hundreds of supporters.

The attack happened at the home of Gemma''s friend Sam Hooper, 30, who said she was looking after Thi as a favour for its owner and would never allow it into her home again.

The two women wrestled the animal away from Lexi before taking the little girl to hospital.

The dog's owner, who refused to be named, said: "She was beaten up as a puppy and I rescued her. She's a lovely dog but she doesn't like to be disturbed when she's asleep.

"I'm a mum and of course I understand that it's upsetting and if I had seen it happen, I would have had it put down.

"The dog has been re-homed and, as far as I'm concerned, that should be the end of the matter."

Devon and Cornwall Police said inquiries are continuing with officers still trying to establish if the dog has been destroyed. If not, the owner will be interviewed and magistrates will decide if the animal should be put down.