XL Bullies tried to rip apart my niece, 2, 'like a tug of war': Miraculous survival of girl savaged by five dogs

16 September 2023, 09:58 | Updated: 16 September 2023, 10:14

Ella was mauled by five dogs
Ella was mauled by five dogs. Picture: Alamy

By Chris Chambers

An aunt has described the horrific moment XL Bullies tried to tear apart her niece "like a tug of war" rope.

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Sandra McKevitt was with her two-year-old niece, Ella, in the back garden of her home in Toxteth, Liverpool, when five XL Bullys attacked the toddler and left her with horrific injuries.

She was left spending hours undergoing an operation as surgeons reattached her cheek.

"We were having a little picnic in the garden, it was a hot day," Sandra said.

"I heard a loud bang and the dogs came through the fence. They surrounded us, five dogs and 10-16 puppies."

She added: "They started, one-by-one, trying to get Ella. It was like a tug of war. They were attacking one-by one, one bit her on the shoulder, and trying to get me out the way to get to her.

"She was totally unrecognisable, cheek was hanging off, scalp, the blood was everywhere, she had a white top on it but it was red.

"She got airlifted to Alder Hey, went through 7-8 hours operation where they had plastic surgeons sewing her cheek back on.

Ella was savaged by two dogs
Ella was savaged by two dogs. Picture: Handout

"One of the dogs had had her by the mouth and torn the muscles so they had to do surgery to put her jaw back into place. When we went to see her she was unrecognisable.

"I still have dreams about it, when I see things on the news about it I go cold."

Read more: Two-year amnesty for XL Bully dog: Outright ban to 'hit owners in 2025 as pets must meet criteria or be put down'

This attack happened in 2016 but a spate of dog attacks in recent weeks have led to the government deciding to ban the breed.

Rishi Sunak said they are a "danger to our communities".

He said: "This is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on."

Five XL bullies attacked Ella
Five XL bullies attacked Ella. Picture: Handout

LBC understands any existing XL bullies will have to be muzzled in public and on the lead at all times. They will also have to be neutered.

Speaking to LBC after Rishi Sunak's announcement, Sandra said: "It's the owners... any dog can turn. If you're in a situation where you're not being treated right, you're going to react.

Read more: Tributes paid as hero dad, 52, mauled to death by two XL Bully dogs 'while protecting his mother'

"It was extremely hot, it was the conditions they were kept in. You could smell their business, it wasn't being cleared up. They were hungry, thirsty... their instincts have kicked in.

"The kids don't blame the dogs, they wanted to know what happened to them. They were put down. We didn't want that."

The latest victim of an XL Bully attack is Ian Price, a father who was mauled to death by two dogs of the breed in Stonnall, Staffordshire on Thursday afternoon.

The government is banning XL Bullies
The government is banning XL Bullies. Picture: Alamy

Price, a dog owner himself who ran an art repair business, died after being mauled by the dogs, which police said are believed to be XL Bullies.

The dogs' owner turned about later - with his baby daughter - just as police arrived. He was arrested.