A woman has been found guilty of being in possession of a dog dangerously out of control after it mauled a Peterborough schoolgirl as she watched the X Factor.
Georgia Sigourney, 13, needed 50 stitches to her face after being savaged by the Siberian Husky named Dakota.
More than a year later, Sarah White has been convicted over the brutal attack, after claiming she was looking after the animal for a friend.
The case originally went to trial last year but was thrown out by a judge who cited the old law which didn’t cover dogs dangerously out of control in private places.
But the family and police fought for the case to be retried and a new trial was heard at Peterborough Crown Court.
Yesterday (Monday), a jury found White guilty of possessing a dog dangerously out of control.
She (Georgia) has suffered, she goes to special school and gets a lot of help to deal with what’s happened. She’s never cried or broken down over thisLucy Sigourney
Speaking outside court, Georgia’s mum Lucy, (41), said: “We’re chuffed to bits considering that we were thinking it wasn’t going to go our way.
“It has already been to court once and fell apart but the police have been brilliant and they fought so hard to get the case back into court.
“Georgia is just glad it is over. She just wants it all to go away and get on with her life.”
Georgia, who was 12 at the time, was left with bite marks all over her face when the dog, called Dakota, attacked her at White’s home in Hinchcliffe, Peterborough, in October 2014.
The teenager was offered the choice of giving evidence via video link due to her age but instead opted to stand in front of the court and relive the whole experience.
Full-time mum Lucy said she did not want White to be sent to prison.
She added: “I wasn’t happy her pleading not guilty and making Georgia go back to court and go through it all again.
“Georgia had to relive the interview she had at the time and watched a video of it in court.
“They (CPS) wanted her to do it by video link but she was adamant she was going to stand in the box and talk to the jury which she did.
“I am so proud of her. She answered all the questions they asked her and spoke to the jury just like they asked.
“Sarah kept speaking about her mental health before the trial but this whole thing has affected Georgia much more.
“She has suffered, she goes to special school and gets a lot of help to deal with what’s happened. She’s never cried or broken down over this.”
White suffers from agoraphobia and was allowed by the judge not to sit in the dock during the trial because of the stress it would cause her.
She pleaded not guilty to the offence and claimed she was only looking after the dog for a friend.
Giving evidence to the jury, she said: “I started looking after Dakota the day before the incident.
“I’ve looked after a few people’s pets when they have been on holiday.”
White said Georgia regularly used to visit the house, and said the teenager had described her as being like a ‘second mum.’
She said on the day of the attack she had taken Dakota for a walk twice, and fed her.
She said she had popped to see a friend, only expecting to be out of the house for a few moments and left the dog asleep.
She said: “Dakota was asleep on the sofa, and Georgia was on the floor in front of her.
“I would have moved her (Dakota) but she was asleep, and I didn’t expect to be long.
“I was in the hallway of the house, when the door opened, and it was Georgia.
I asked what happened, and she told me. We were trying to stop the bleeding.
“When I got home, Dakota was in the living room, head down, ears down, tail down. She was very low.
“I gave her a kiss, and put her in her crate.”
Roger Harrison, defending, asked her if she had ever seen Dakota do anything aggressive. White said she had not.
White admitted she had been in charge of the dog when Dakota caused the injuries. She also said she had never personally owned a dog.
Gemna Stokes, prosecuting, asked her why she had not put the dog in another room when she went away. White said: “She was fast asleep. I didn’t want to wake her up.”
The court heard how Dakota has since died in an unrelated accident.
White was released on bail but ordered to return to court on February 5 to be sentenced.