Bromley girl 'lucky to be alive' after dog attack
A FOUR-YEAR old girl was inches from death after being attacked by a dog in Bromley.
Chloe Stevens-Rye was playing with her brother and some other children in Shaftesbury Park, in Alexandra Crescent, on March 23 when she was attacked by an English bull mastiff.
The youngster was rushed to Lewisham Hospital where medics said she was lucky to be alive.
Chloe’s mum, 27-year old Kalie Stevens, of Brook Lane, Bromley, told News Shopper: "The doctors said if Chloe hadn’t moved her face, she would have died so we’re lucky really.
“There were teeth marks in her cheek.
“It’s been so upsetting for all of us though, especially her brother who was there at the time.
"Her behaviour’s also got really bad since it happened and when she sees a dog she just freezes."
Chloe’s 33-year-old father, Jamie Rye, added: "I took her to the park the other day and when a dog came close she went rigid.
"It has traumatised her to the point we can’t console her anymore."
The animal’s owner Vladimir Matvejev was found guilty of allowing it to be dangerously out of control in a public place and causing injury at Greenwich Magistrates’ Court on Friday (September 28).
The 49-year-old, whose testimony was translated through a Russian interpreter, told the court the little girl "pulled the left ear of the dog after stroking it a few times".
He said this caused the dog, named Lesse, to shake its head in a reflex action, injuring the right side of Chloe’s face next to her eye with its collar.
In his original statement to police Matvejev, who is unemployed and on benefits, claimed Chloe had "poked" and "prodded" the dog.
But prosecutor Christopher McNicholas said the girl was bitten by the six-year-old animal.
Magistrates told Matvejev, of Old Bromley Road, Bromley, they found his testimony "inconsistent".
They also said the matter of whether the dog bit Chloe or caused the wound by rubbing its collar on her was not important because the charge related to "injury" in general.
Matvejev was ordered to pay a £150 fine and £200 compensation to Chloe as well as other costs totalling £185.
Magistrates said because it was the dog’s first attack it would not be destroyed, but must now always wear a lead in public places.
Ms Stevens told News Shopper she was angry with the owner, rather than the animal itself, and she believes the sentence should have been tougher.
She said: "He never apologised to Chloe.
"The dog should be on a muzzle at all times."