FRESH calls for devil dogs to be licensed have been made after a toddler was left screaming in agony after being bitten on the face by a rogue terrier.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier had to be dragged off the girl by a passer-by following an attack which took place on Thursday afternoon.
The two-year-old had been picked up from nursery at 4pm by her mother and taken to a playpark at Castlepark Green, Craigmillar.
The dog, described as “heavily built”, launched itself at the girl without warning and bit her on the face.
It ran away following the attack and was being searched for by police last night.
Janet Forbes, 85, who was attacked by an English Bull Terrier earlier this year, said the out-of-control mutt “could have torn her apart”.
She said: “They should bring back licences and the people who let their dogs wander around on their own should be fined.”
The frail Pilton pensioner had to undergo surgery for a wound that later required skin grafts.
She added: “My neighbour has a wee girl aged about two and if the dog that attacked me had got into her garden, it could have torn her apart.
“I was scared to leave my house after I was attacked – the animal should have been put down.
“The fact the dog that attacked that child is still missing is very frightening.”
Inspector Roddy Hardy, of Lothian and Borders Police, said the dog went for the girl out of the blue.
He said: “This has been a very traumatic incident for a very young child. The mother and child had been in the playpark and were leaving when the dog ran over and jumped up at the girl, knocking the child over, and bit her. A passer-by intervened who ran over and pulled the dog off her.”
It is not known if the dog, which ran off after the attack, is a stray or if it had escaped from its owner.
Officers are trying to trace the dog, described as being a brown Staffordshire Bull Terrier with black spots, as a matter of “urgency”.
They are also looking to trace the person who came forward to help the family.
The Duchess of Hamilton, chairwoman of the Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue, said the dogs are often misunderstood.
She said: “Nobody wants to see a child harmed in any way.
“But there was a child attacked and killed by a Jack Russell Terrier in England recently and there has hardly been anything in the newspaper about it.
“Staffordshire Bull Terriers are normally the most wonderful dogs and they are very good with children.
“The dog might have simply wanted to play with the child.
“Dogs should be on a leash in a public place – not just wandering around loose on their own.”
Inspector Hardy said: “We are keen to trace the good Samaritan who came to the aid of the little girl to see if they have any further information to help with our inquiries.”
The child was taken to Craigmillar Medical Practice where she was treated for a facial cut and scratches.