A three-year-old girl was ‘thrown around like a rag doll’ after being attacked by a bull mastiff dog outside her home, a court heard.

Evie-Mae Macfarlane was charged at by ‘Buster’ on Norfolk Grove in Church she left her house with her mum Chyna Clarke.

Burnley Crown Court heard how the dog ‘took hold of her with her right thigh’ and according to Chyna ‘threw her around like a rag doll’ before landing on her face.

The two-and-a-half year old dog, which wasn’t prohibited, tried to attack Evie-Mae again before her mum managed to pull her back into the house. She was taken to Manchester Children’s Hospital after sustaining cuts to her thigh, including some two or three centimetres in length, and a chipped tooth.

Shaun Anthony McDermott, now of Buxton Street, Accrington, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control.

He was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to pay £400 compensation and disqualified from owning a dog.

Shaun McDermott pictured with Buster

Susan Carter, prosecuting, told the court how the incident happened on June 9 last year after Buster had escaped through a front door and an insecure gate.

Miss Carter said Evie-Mae was ‘clearly distressed’ and needed to be sedated before being given antibiotics.

She said: “The child was in shock and not crying or speaking. Subsequently she became very disturbed indeed.”

The court heard how a neighbour witnessed the incident which lasted for around 30 seconds before McDermott came out of a house with a ‘length of rope’ to bring the dog under control.

Miss Carter said there had been ‘four previous incidents’ involving the dog and police had advised McDermott to have it muzzled or on a lead.


Darren Lee-Smith, defending, said McDermott, 42, had previously taken the dog to a trainer to ‘try and rehabilitate it’.

He said: “Thankfully the young girl in question didn’t suffer more serious injuries but one can’t mitigate around the injuries she sustained and the considerable distress this caused.

"It’s not the case that the defendant hadn’t taken steps to remedy the behaviour of the animal in question and he had not recklessly let the dog out of control or goaded it in any way.”

Mum Chyna Clarke has spoken of her ‘terror’ when bull mastiff dog Buster attacked her daughter Evie-Mae Macfarlane.

Chyna, 23, was five months pregnant at the time of the incident and told how she feared for her daughter’s life.

She told the Observer: “The dog just came from out of nowhere as I was closing the door. I could hear it behind me and then saw it get hold of her and shake her around in its’ mouth before throwing her to the floor.

"I just picked her up and ran inside. I was terrified and just went into auto-pilot. I thought she was seriously hurt.

“I phoned the ambulance straight away as I could see blood dripping from her leg. At first we thought she would need plastic surgery.

"Fortunately they managed to clean the wound in a few hours and we were back home the same night.”

Chyna said Evie-Mae, who starts nursery at St Nicholas’ School in Church in September, was ‘really terrified’ and now ‘won’t go anywhere near of dogs’.