Pregnant woman left with life changing facial injuries after horrific dog attack
These are the horrific injuries that a young mum was left with when her friend’s dog tried to rip off her FACE – while she was five months’ pregnant.
Laura Holmes was sending a text message when her pal’s American Akita dog launched at her – tearing huge chunks of flesh from her mouth.
Terrified pals tried to pull the dog from her – but it attached itself to Laura’s leg, and only let go when she booted it across the room.
Laura, 21, from Nottingham, was rushed to Queen’s Medical Centre – where surgeons battled to save her face and her unborn baby.
In a landmark prosecution, the dog’s owner, Tracie Taylor, received a 16-week jail sentence suspended for a year and was ordered to pay Laura just £1000 in compensation.
Under new laws changed on May 13 – just a day before Laura was left with life-changing injuries – owners can be taken to court if the animal is dangerous and out of control.
The dog, Koda, was destroyed shortly after the attack when Taylor, also from Nottingham, surrendered it to police and she has also been banned from owning any animals in the future.
Laura said: “I thought I was going to die – I was so afraid for my life and my unborn baby’s life.
“The doctors told me my injuries were so bad I am lucky to be alive.
“My face was hanging off and I’ve been left with really awful scarring. I’m too upset to even look in the mirror now.
“I’ve never been so scared. I was sitting in my friend’s house sending a text – she’d had the dog for about seven years and I’d never even seen it growl before.
“I looked up from my phone and then I saw this dog launching itself at me – and before I knew it I was in the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life.
“My first thought was for my baby – I was terrified the attack would mean I would lose him. I was trying to scream and tear the dog off my face but he wouldn’t let go.
“My friends were screaming and trying to grab the dog, but when it let go of my face it grabbed my leg – it was chasing me through the house.
“I would never normally hurt a dog but I had to start booting it to get it off me.
“I ran to the bathroom and stood over the sink. When I looked down I saw my own flesh had fallen into the sink.”
Laura had to give birth to baby Nathaniel – now 15 weeks old – by C-section because doctors felt she may not be able to withstand the pain of a natural birth due to her injuries.
Shockingly the dog had already bitten someone else four years earlier, but due to the law at the time no prosecution had been brought.
Laura added: “This never should have happened to me because it bit someone before but nothing was done about it.
“The dog chased me through two rooms – it wouldn’t stop.
“There was no barking or growling – it just went for my face and that was that.
“My hair was soaked in blood so they cut it all off and I wasn’t allowed to wash my face after the first surgery which took six and a half hours.”
Laura was operated on at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, and is due to have further facial surgery in December and is still struggling to eat and drink after the assault.
Nottingham Magistrates Court heard yesterday (TUE) that it was the second time that the dog had attacked someone.
David Miles, prosecuting, said: “Laura went upstairs and saw the dog looking out of the window.
“She sat on the bed and looked at her phone and with no warning the dog bit her face.
“She tried to get off the bed and the dog then bit her on the right arm and as she turned away from the animal it bit her on the left leg.
“Laura ran from the room to the bathroom but the dog managed to get hold of her left arm this time and started to pull.
“She managed to get in the bathroom and when she looked down she saw her own flesh in the sink.
“The defendant’s daughter took down the mirror so she could not look at what had happened.”
Taylor represented herself in court and said: “I can’t sleep at night and have considered ending it all.
“I am leaving Nottingham because it is not fair that the family have to see me all the time after what happened.”
Magistrate Geoff Jordan said: “We accept no amount of money could compensate the victim.
“It is not the court’s view that this is how much the injury is worth and if we could award more we would.”
Dogs’ legislation officer PC Steve Feary said: “I believe this is the first conviction of its kind for Nottinghamshire and one of the first for the country.
“But no one wins here.
“Laura was badly injured that evening and she will carry the physical scars with her for the rest of her life, not to mention the psychological effects she continues to battle – and all this while trying to raise a new baby.
“I hope this serves as reminder that being a pet owner, and particularly a dog owner, brings with it accountability.
“If someone dies as a result of your dog attacking them you could face up to 14 years’ imprisonment. If they are injured it’s up to five years.”