WARNING EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES The same dog mauled another person five years ago but the owners avoided prosecution because it wasn’t in public
A mum-to-be suffered horrific facial injuries after being brutally savaged by a friend’s dog in a terrifying attack.
Laura Holmes, 21, who was seven months pregnant, was left scarred for life after the crazed seven-stone American Akita ripped her face apart.
Dog owner Tracie Taylor became the first person in the UK to be prosecuted under tough new laws following the attack.
Before changes were made to the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, owners were immune from charges if the attack happened in a private residence.
The dog previously mauled another person in 2009 but Taylor escaped prosecution because the attack did not happen in a public place. It pounced on Laura on May 14 this year – 24 hours after cops were given the new powers to charge irresponsible owners.
She needed more than 60 stitches in her face and underwent emergency surgery after the mauling at a house in Nottingham.
The injuries were so severe Laura had to give birth by caesarean section because doctors were worried she would not cope with the pain of labour. She still has trouble eating and drinking and faces years of further corrective surgery on her horrendous facial wounds.
Taylor, 49, was handed a 16-week suspended prison sentence after she admitted “having a dog dangerously out of control”.
Magistrates in Nottingham also banned from owning animals for life and ordered her to pay Laura £1,000 in compensation.
Recalling the attack, Laura said she feared for her life after the Akita, called Koda, mauled her without warning.
“When it happened I just thought I was going to die and that was it,” she said.
“The dog chased me through two rooms, it did not want to stop. There was no barking or growling – it just went for my face and that was that.
“I could not look in the mirror for eight weeks because of how much my face had changed. When I eventually forced myself I just wanted to crawl into bed not get up again.
“I feel lucky to be alive, but this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I am reminded about it all the time, every day.
“There is no amount of money that could make up for what has happened. This never should have happened to me because it bit someone before but nothing was done about it.
“It could have killed a young person and the doctor said I was lucky to be alive.
“It’s hard going outside because people stare at me and jump to conclusions. I’m really conscious about not scaring children.
“It’s remarkable what the doctors have been able to do for me. I was told that I could have lost my own life and that of my son’s that night.”
Laura, from Nottingham, gave birth to her son Nathaniel two months after the attack.
“There will be no right way to tell my son what happened to my face when he is older,” she said.
Owner Taylor apologised to Laura in court and said she had considered committing suicide following the attack.
She 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.”
Koda was destroyed following the attack.