Mum's horror as little girl, 2, 'mutilated by puppies' who left her face unrecognizable - petsitterbank

Mum’s horror as little girl, 2, ‘mutilated by puppies’ who left her face unrecognizable

A mum-of-four has shared her traumatic ordeal after several puppies mutilated her daughter in a matter of minutes – with her ear missing chunks and face covered with scratches.

In May 2022, Californian mum Michele Peden, 30, and her husband Michael adopted four Queensland labrador puppies called Amarah, Negan, Gideon and Keerah.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Little girl ‘mutilated by puppies’ makes recovery

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The couple, who have four children – Samantha, 13, Daisy, 11, Felicity, two and Daryl, one – had dreamed about having the pets for years.

On June 3, while preparing for their youngest’s child’s birthday, Michele – an experienced dog owner – stepped out to go shopping while her husband remained at home with the kids.

Soon after, she received the call every parent dreads – her daughter had been mauled by the animals.

The tragic incident took place within just 10 minutes.

Felicity before the attack. Credit: Jam Press

Arriving at the hospital, Michele was horrified to discover Felicity unconscious with deep gashes, bloody scratches all over her face and chunks taken out of her ear.

“They had eaten her ear and mutilated her face, neck and upper body,” she told Jam Press.

“All I could smell was puppy slobber all over her head, which made me want to cry, and I felt sick to my stomach.

“She was missing her hair and was covered in bandages and gauze.

“There were stitches in multiple places, including her lip, neck and throat.

“I cried, my heart was broken and I felt like I was going to pass out – the feeling of not being able to do anything to help my baby was overwhelming.

“I blamed myself and the guilt of not seeing the signs was overwhelming.

“At the time, I had no other information but I concluded that the only thing in the backyard that could have caused that kind of damage was the puppies.”

Felicity in hospital after the attack. Credit: Jam Press

In a bid to raise awareness and to stop the tragedy from happening to any other families, the parents have shared their story on social media, where it has gone viral.

They have also launched a GoFundMe to raise money for Felicity’s mounting hospital bills, which currently sits at $US2,800 of a $US25,000 goal.

Due to the child’s severe injuries, she was flown to a specialist children’s hospital with a trauma center in Fresno, California, where she received plastic surgery in a bid to save her ear.

The Queensland Labrador puppies called Amarah, Negan, Gideon and Keerah. Credit: Jam Press

Michele said: “After three hours of plastic surgery, they were unable to save much of her ear – except for her earlobe and inner ear.

“She struggled to open her eyes and was crying for us, as well as signing that she wanted her ‘baba’ and that she needed to be sick – probably because of the morphine.

“Medics informed us she had muscle damage to her face, arms and legs, where she will need many surgeries in the near future.

“I wanted to hold her but we couldn’t as we were told her neck injuries were too severe.

“Before the incident, she was full of joy, smiles and mischief, but initially we were worried she would be left with a different future ahead of her.”

Felicity with Michele in hospital after the attack. Credit: Jam Press

Over the next few days, Felicity stabilized and the swelling on her face started to reduce.

Scans revealed she hadn’t suffered any lasting damage to her internal organs or neck.

She has since improved and has been released from hospital after seven days – but is still attending appointments to have plastic surgery once a week.

The family’s four pups were taken into an animal shelter after local authorities decided they didn’t need to be put down and instead, should be separated due to suffering from littermate syndrome.

Felicity recovering in hospital after the attack. Credit: Jam Press

What is littermate syndrome?

Littermate syndrome – also known as Sibling Aggression or Littermate Aggression – is a non-scientific term that refers to a host of behavioral issues that tend to present when dogs are raised in the same household beyond the normal eight to 10 weeks of age when puppies are usually rehomed.

“They can turn instantly violent towards others – so after the attack on Felicity they ended up attacking each other as well,” Michele said.

“The pups also managed to get inside our chicken coop where they killed nine of my 15 chickens.

“While we loved our little pups, we’ve now sent them to a shelter for rehoming and due to their young age, it’s believed they are unlikely to attack again if they are separated.

“The cops and animal control were having a hard time believing puppies could have done this and thought for sure it was a bob cat or coyote.

“If they can’t be adopted or still show signs of aggression after training, they will sadly have to be put down.”

Michele said that in the three weeks they had the puppies, the animals showed no signs they could become aggressive.

“I would never have left Felicity alone with them [if I knew this],” she said.

“But we accept full responsibility and accountability for this tragedy.

“[We] are incredibly grateful to all who have extended their love and prayers of support.”

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