Dog owner arrested after pet savages six-year-old

A six-year-old girl who had part of her ear bitten off by a Staffordshire bull terrier remained in hospital last night.

The girl had been walking with her family in Pole Hill, Waltham Forest, when she was seized by the dog.

Witnesses described how her father repeatedly punched the animal in the head. Terrence Lundy, an eyewitness, said: "This woman came running down with her husband and another little kid... and screaming, 'keep your dogs away from my daughter'." The girl was rushed to hospital where she required immediate treatment, including plastic surgery. Last night doctors described her condition as stable but warned she could be scarred for life.

Yesterday Scotland Yard said a man, 56, was arrested on suspicion of allowing a dog to be out of control in a public place. A dog has also been seized.

The attack comes amid calls for reform of the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act; critics say it is outdated in relation to the rising number of dangerous terriers.