20 January 2011, 16:17
The parents of a two-year-old boy mauled by their family dog were ``absolutely devastated'' as he recovered from his injuries in hospital today.
Toddler Lewis Oliver was attacked across his face by the animal, a Japanese Akita named Kona, at home in Hailsham, East Sussex, at 8.15pm yesterday.
He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where his mother Reme Keightley, 30, and his father Dean Oliver were at his bedside.
Lewis was undergoing treatment for his facial injuries, but police said they are not considered to be life-threatening.
His great-aunt Jane Keightley said: ``All I know is that Kona snapped at Lewis but I really don't know any more details at the moment.
``Kona got him on the side of the mouth. I haven't seen Lewis but I know that he has been up watching telly and taking drinks.
``He is a brave little soldier.''
The family, who live on an estate in the market town, had Kona - not a banned breed of dog - since he was a puppy.
A sticker by the front door of the family's semi-detached house reads: ``Watch Out, Rottweiler About.''
A spokesman for Sussex Police said Kona was destroyed last night with the consent of the parents.
Ms Keightley said the family own another dog of the same breed which is now to be rehomed.
She said: ``Kona had never shown any aggression towards anyone before.
``He has been there since he was born and played with the children and chased them.
``This is the first time that he decided to snap.''
Lewis has a 13-year-old sister. Asked how Lewis's parents were feeling, the great-aunt said: ``They are absolutely devastated.''
Inspector Tony Wakefield, of Sussex Police, said: ``Although this was clearly a traumatic incident for the child and his family, this appears to be an isolated incident which occurred within the family home.
``The family voluntarily agreed for the dog, which had not previously shown any aggression towards the family or the public, to be destroyed immediately.''
A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokeswoman confirmed it sent an ambulance to the scene last night and the child was taken to hospital under blue lights.
Steve Goody, director of external affairs at the Blue Cross animal charity, called for the Government to change its legislation on dangerous dogs in the light of the attack.
He said: ``This tragic incident is yet more evidence that dangerous dogs legislation is not working.
``While we don't know the full circumstances of this case, this dog was not a banned breed and an attack on private property is not covered by current laws.
``The Government must seize this opportunity to scrap the Dangerous Dogs Act and replace it with a law that properly protects the public.''