Andrew McGowan jailed over Dingle toddler dog attack

Andrew McGowan Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Andrew McGowan was sentenced to 18 months and banned from keeping dogs for 12 years

A man whose four dogs left a two-year-old girl severely injured in a "horrific" attack as she played in a garden has been jailed.

The toddler was savaged by Andrew McGowan's American bully dogs in Dingle, Liverpool, leaving her with serious injuries to her head and body.

McGowan later admitted the animals had been dangerously out of control.

The 35-year-old, of Cockburn Street, Dingle, was jailed for 18 months by magistrates in Liverpool.

He was also banned from keeping dogs for 12 years.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken by air ambulance to Alder Hey Children's Hospital after the dogs pounced, on the afternoon of 7 May.

Neighbours said they heard the girl screaming and shouts of: "The dog's got the baby! The dog's got the baby!"

The dogs also hurt a 57-year-old woman who tried to rescue the girl in the garden on Cockburn Street.

Five dogs and six puppies were seized after the attack, two of which were put down.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The attack took place in the garden of a house in Cockburn Street, Dingle

In a victim impact statement, the girl's mother described seeing her in an ambulance "covered in blood".

"I could not make out any of her facial features and with shock I left the ambulance because I knew I needed to remain strong for my baby girl," she said.

"My daughter and I were airlifted in the helicopter to the hospital and the journey in itself was traumatic. She lost consciousness and I honestly thought my baby girl wasn't going to make it."

She said her daughter had been left traumatised, scared to leave her home and could remember the attack in detail.

However, she said she had "defied the odds" and was recovering well from her physical injuries.

Speaking after the sentencing, she said: "He [McGowan] will only serve nine months in prison but my baby girl will have to live with this for the rest of her life."

Det Ch Insp John Webster said it was only through "sheer fortune" that other children playing in the garden had not been injured.

He added: "The injuries and the trauma the girl suffered will probably stay with her for a long time, but I hope with the love and support of her family it is something that she will in time be able to fully recover from."

American bully dogs, which are similar to pit bull terriers, are not a banned breed.

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