"It's her own fault she gone that low": Dog owner's bizarre Facebook messages after 4-year-old Tillie Vasey was mauled by a pit bull dog in Preston

Little Tillie Vasey was left with sickening dog bite injuries as she innocently played out in her favourite blue princess dress in Ribbleton.

By Stef Hall
Thursday, 21st March 2019, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:33 am
Tillie Vasey before the incident
Tillie Vasey before the incident

The Preston primary school pupil's skull was partially exposed, with puncture wounds around her eyes and eyelid and a torn tearduct when a pit bull type dog savaged her.

The four year-old endured nine hours of surgery, before a further two operation and a fourth planned this year, and has missed school activities and trips due to her eye injuries.

Tillie in hospital

While most members of society would be horrified at the schoolgirl's ordeal, unsympathetic dog owner Dawn Holt wrote on social media: "It's her own fault she gone that low."

"My dog didn't bite her, he clawed her to get away...the tree stump caused the fracture.

Holt's dog attacked the four year old as she played her friends in a garden in Ribbleton.

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Friends and neighbours had a 2.2-mile sponsored walk around Moor Park

Today Tillie's mum Leanne, who was pregnant with her third child when the tragedy happened, said: "When I first saw Tillie I thought someone had painted her face - then I couldn't move.

"I just froze, I didn't know what to do. We called an ambulance but we couldn't wait, we rushed her there in the car. She had a nine hour operation.

"She's been left with no confidence, she was always really bubbly. It's left her with scars on her head and face and eye problems.

"Dawn Holt has never apologised to us, not once, and instead tried to blame my little girl. If she had have been sorry, things would have felt different.

"I am really happy with her sentence as I did not think she'd get that."

The family have released harrowing pictures of Tillie's injuries to raise awareness of the risks posed by out-of-control pets, and the importance of responsible dog ownership.

Holt's bizarre online comments in the aftermath of the attack attracted criticism from a judge, who imposed a three month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and 140 hours unpaid work.

Judge Simon Newell ordered her 12 year old pit bull type dog, Caesar, to be destroyed, and banned her from keeping dogs for life.

He said suggestions by Holt that the injuries were caused by the dog's claws are "unrealistic".

He also pointed out suggestions in social media posts that what happened was the youngsters's fault were "wholly irresponsible".

He added: "It's irresponsible to put anything on, other than: "I'm sorry", that's all you needed."

"Children have no discriminations, their knowledge and experience is terribly limited. A lot of children who see a dog want to touch the dog, play with the dog.

"They can behave in an improper way to the dog, entirely innocently. When you're leaving them with small children you've got to be there."

Prosecuting, Peter Barr said Holt was staying at her sister's home on Westfield Drive - where Tillie's family also live - and was looking after some of her sister's children.

Tillie was playing there with one of her little friends in the garden.

Witnesses heard the childrens' screams as the dog repeatedly bit her, leaving her face, hair and princess dress soaked in blood.

The youngster was snatched from the dog's grip by barber Warren Hadfield, who was visiting a friend in the same street, and jumped in to fight the dog off.

In a harrowing statement, Warren said: " I saw the dog sitting on the doorstep mauling the little girl, who was wearing a blue princess dress. She was being thrown around like a ragdoll - it looked vicious.

He said Holt had jumped onto the dog and tried to take hold of Tillie, who was lying on the floor, conscious and crying.

He added: " I couldn't see her face for the blood.

She was rushed back home into the arms of her mum and then to hospital.

Sessions House Court heard three consultant surgeons had dealt with Tillie, who had significant wounds to her head. Her skull, which was fractured, was partially visible and there were puncture wounds around her eyes.

Defending, Anthony Parkinson said Holt's social media posts followed threats and comments made to her online.

He added: "This is a lady who is genuinely remorseful. It' an incident that regrettably could not be foreseen."

Nine days after the attack, kind friends and neighbours had a 2.2-mile sponsored walk around Moor Park to raise money to buy toys to cheer Tillie up.

Around 50 adults and children took part.