Toddler’s face torn up when family’s ‘perfect’ St Bernard suddenly mauled her

Lizanne Naudé, 32, claimed her baby girl Mené had been sitting in the kitchen with the dog, Bernie, and her brother Lihan, 4, while her father, Jaco, 32, made supper in August last year.

Bernie grew angry, digging its teeth into the girl’s face, ripping through her flesh, leaving a deep gash across her neck, and breaking her top lip all the way up to her nose.

‘I heard screams and as soon as I saw her, my mother’s instinct kicked in — all I could think about was how to stop the blood from spilling,’ Lizanne recalled.

The doctor remarked that her lip was totally ripped up, and she had a massive wound near her neck. It’s miraculous she didn’t hit a major artery. Mené’s parents, who are from South Africa, hurried her to the hospital, where physicians informed them that she would require emergency skin grafts.

Lizanne stated that the 60kg animal, which measures 6ft tall on its hind legs, had never been misbehaved before the incident. It also viciously attacked Jaco’s arm the next day as he put it into the car on the way to an animal sanctuary where the pair believed it might be rescued.

However, experts determined that a pet that attacked many times was too dangerous and had to be put down. Lizaane explained she couldn’t grasp it. It seemed as if I had a different dog at the time. He’d been perfectly OK for over a year. He had been fantastic with the kids up until that moment. He was well-trained, and they had never had a problem with him.

Mené had never tugged Bernie’s fur or ears, even when he was young, and the dog ‘liked’ her touches.

She concluded, it’s been over a year now, but the consequences have been enormous. It’s difficult not to worry about the worst that might have occurred. Her son and daughter have both been traumatized, and both her husband and she have nightmares about it.

They had him for over a year and he was house trained and great with the children. He’d never flinched and they never had any problems, but that day he simply changed. He showed no indication that he was going to assault. Animal instinct is something one can never truly trust, and one has to be mindful of it.

At the end of the day, they are fortunate as it could have been so much worse, but it’s been a heck of a rollercoaster for the family.

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