A devastated family have been forced to have their ‘sweet and protective’ dog put down after she tore off their five-year-old son’s cheek – leaving him unable to smile.
Brantley Manion was pounced on by Mountain Cur English pointer cross Marley while the sat in the boy’s bedroom watching a Disney film on January 8.
Mum Amanda, 35, says she was sitting in the living room with partner Christopher, 34, when they heard blood-curdling screams coming from the bedroom.
They rushed upstairs and found the dog having pinned down Brantley and attacking him.
The couple have had Marley since she was just nine weeks old and say she was the “sweetest and most protective” pet – having never previously been aggressive.
But they suspect the three-year-old dog turned on Brantley when he tried to pet her while she was eating a steak.
Heartbreaking photos show Brantley with deep cuts to the right side of his face and Amanda says that his teeth could be seen through his torn cheek.
The tot, who insisted from his hospital bed that “Marley didn’t mean it”, has been left unable to smile due to torn ligaments that have caused facial paralysis.
Brantley has undergone one surgery and needs a further one to stitch up torn ligaments in his mouth.
Amanda, from, Wentzville, Missouri, US, said of the attack: “Christopher pulled her off and Brantley was laying there holding his face together.
“She had sliced his face, it was a crazy night. Brantley is adamant the dog didn’t mean it and is devastated he can’t see her anymore (
Image: Kennedy News and Media) Brantley had picked out Marley when she was a puppy (
Image: Kennedy News and Media)
“I was terrified but I was so confused and in shock because she’s never hurt anyone.
“It didn’t hit me that it was Marley, I thought the bunk bed must have fallen on him, I couldn’t believe that Marley would have done that.
“The right side of his face was hanging down and not connected anymore.
“It was completely ripped so you could see his teeth through his cheek. There was blood everywhere, all over Marley and the bed.”
Amanda went on to insist: “Marley was the sweetest and so protective so I have no idea what happened, she’d never even growled at anyone.
“The only thing we can think of is that she was eating a steak at the time.”
She said the surgeon told her most dog attacks are from family dogs rather than a random dog on the street.
Although Brantley has no animosity towards the pooch, the family made the heart-breaking decision, as advised by police, to have her put down.
Amanda said: “We knew we couldn’t keep her. The kids wanted to say goodbye but we couldn’t let them get close to her.
“I told the kids she’d been taken to sleep. They are devastated, especially Brantley. He asks about her all of the time.
“He wants her back but there’s nothing I can give him. He doesn’t want another puppy, he wants Marley.”
The beloved pet had been part of the family since Brantley was just two and the tot had chosen the ‘perfect puppy’ himself.
Brantley and his siblings Mckenzie, 13, Isabella and Wyatte, both 10, had to work hard to persuade their dad to let them get a dog due to him being attacked by a Siberian Husky as a child.
Amanda and Christopher have set up a fundraiser to help pay for the hospital bills which amount to $16,000 (£12,900).
Amanda doesn’t know if Brantley will be scarred for life or how many more operations he’ll need as his mouth is paralysed on one side due to torn ligaments.
“He needs more surgery because he can’t smile. His mouth was completely in half so they had to reconnect the corners of his mouth,” she explained.
“He looks good, he doesn’t look horribly bad. It’s visible so everywhere we go people will stop and ask what happened and say ‘oh my gosh’,” she added.