A mum has shared horrifying pictures of how their beloved family dog almost tore off their tot’s face despite them being ‘best friends’. Jodie Griffiths is warning that even ‘trusted’ pets can main children.
Jodie, 35, was at work on December 27 when she received the heart-stopping call from her partner that their two-year-old son Romy had been seriously bitten. El tot and his siblings had been playing in the living room with their new flying helicopters toys while eight-year-old family dog Blizzard slept on the couch nearby.
Romy’s dad, Daniel Griffiths, 32, had only looked away for a second before the tot screamed out in agony and he turned back to find him covered in blood after a single bite tore through his nose. Distressing photos show how little Romy was left with deep lacerations across his nose and face, a fractured jaw and even missing teeth from the attack.
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The parents say the dog, who was their son’s ‘best friend’, had never been aggressive before, leaving them convinced he had been startled awake by the flying toy and lunged at the tot’s face in shock. Since the attack was put down to an accident the couple were allowed to keep Blizzard, however Jodie admits she would never ‘trust’ him again so they were forced to give up their beloved pet.
The ultrasound assistant has now shared shocking photos of her son’s injuries to warn other parents about the risk of dog attacks, even with trusted family pets. Jodie said: “The kids were playing in the front room with their flying helicopters and the dog was asleep on the chair.
“My partner had got up to go to the kitchen but didn’t even get to the kitchen – he heard Romy scream and turned around and that was just how fast it happened. I think the dog was startled awake by one of the flying helicopters and Romy’s face must just have been right there.
“I was at work and got a call from my partner saying the dog had bit the baby – I was very panicked and couldn’t believe it. I still find it hard to get my head round it now. When I got home Romy was covered in blood and my partner was covered in his blood as well.
“He was screaming and then he started dozing off to sleep – the doctors said it was because of the shock. Then they gave him morphine until he went to theatre. We didn’t quite realize how bad it was until after his surgery because he wouldn’t let anyone look at his face.
“It fractured his jaw, ripped all of his nose, ripped out three teeth from the root – he had to have hundreds and hundreds of stitches, they lost count of how many. The damage was really bad on the inside of his nose and they said if the dog had bit down a little bit more his whole nose would have been bitten off.”
After the terrifying phone call, Jodie, from Walsall, West Midlands, rushed home and the parents took the tot to New Croft Hospital in Wolverhampton. From there, Romy was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he underwent surgery the following day to stitch his nose back together.
What was meant to be a two-hour operation ended up taking five hours due to the extensive damage to the tot’s face, followed by two nights in hospital recovering. The beloved mutt Blizzard had been part of the family for the majority of his eight-year life since being a puppy and had never shown any signs of aggression before.
Jodie said that police officers attended their home the same day and agreed that what happened was an ‘accident’, meaning Blizzard could stay with the family if they wished. But the mum of eight admits she would never be able to trust the dog around her children again and so they decided to surrender him to the police to be rehomed.
Jodie said: “Blizzard has always been a family dog who loved to play, loved a fuss and wanted to get involved with everything. He was a soft dog and the kids loved him to death. He was Romy’s best friend. I don’t think it was a planned attack. He’s not continued the attack or ragged him about or anything, all that damage was just from one bite. At the end of the day I will always put my kids first and it was the best thing for the dog to go and hopefully be rehomed.
“I would never have trusted him around my kids again, I don’t trust any dog anymore. One came up to Romy in the street when he was in the pram and I spun the pram round and started screaming hysterically to get it away from him.”
Romy, who has been left with scarring on his face, has to have check ups at the hospital as he grows due to concerns that the amount of stitching done to his nose will prevent it from growing with him. Doctors have warned that he may need another operation by the time he is four and further surgery when he is a teenager to reshape his nose and nostrils to his growing face.
The mum now hopes to warn other parents about the risks of having a dog around children, after being forced to rehome the pet she thought she could trust with her children. Jodie said: “Even looking at him now I can’t believe he’s got to live with this scar but he is healing beautifully.
“I want to raise awareness and I wouldn’t advise anyone with kids having a dog because even if it’s an accident it can still happen. People love their dogs and say ‘my dog would never do that’ but we used to say the same .”
After surrendering Blizzard to the police to be rehomed, the dog was given a ‘thorough assessment’ and it was determined he could not be rehomed due to the nature of the incident, and was humanely destroyed.
A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: “We were called to [an address] in Wolverhampton on 27 December 2021 to reports a child had been bitten by a dog. The two-year-old was taken to hospital and treated for serious injuries to his face.
“The dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross was seized under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dog Act. The ownership of the dog was transferred to police. Following a thorough assessment it was established the dog could never be rehomed due to the violent act and they were humanely destroyed.”