A boy has been scarred for life after being savaged by a dog while playing football in his grandmother's back garden.
Mitchell Burks, who was six yesterday, needed plastic surgery and faces further operations after the alsatian attacked him on Sunday in front of his family.
The boy narrowly escaped losing his sight in one eye after the dog bit his face, missing crucial nerves by just a centimetre.
He was also left with a severely punctured lip in the horrifying attack which happened as he was playing football with his younger brother Scott, aged two, and two cousins, Jack, nine, and Charley, three, in his grandmother Sylvia Pearce's garden in Great Wyrley, Walsall.
Mitchell had gone to the low fence to pick up the football when the dog put his paws up on top of the fence and snapped at his face.
The dog, which has since been destroyed, belonged to Sylvia's next door neighbour, Andrew Price.
The youngster said: "He bit my face and it really hurt. I was really scarred. I was covered in blood and there was blood on my trainers."
Mitchell was to have a barbecue for his birthday but the family now want to keep it low key.
He added: "It doesn't hurt as much now as I've got medicine but I can't smile very well. I'm looking forward to watching England later today, though."
His mother Kerry Burks, aged 34, said: "There was blood everywhere. I was hysterical. My two-year old son was in the garden, too. If he'd been bitten he probably would have been killed."
The youngster was rushed to Sandwell Hospital and had plastic surgery to his face before returning home to Little Bloxwich, Walsall, on Monday evening with his mother and 35 year-old father, Nick Pearce.
Sylvia said she had previously warned the children to keep to the opposite side of the garden to where the dog lived.
The 70-year-old said: "It frightened the life out of me. I've never liked the dog; it would always run out and start barking at me when I put the washing out or mowed the lawn"
Mitchell is now on a heavy course of antibiotics and needs a special mouthwash to prevent infection and must go back to hospital in six weeks for more plastic surgery.
He also needs at least two weeks off from Lower Farm School, Little Bloxwich.
Kerry said: "He was so brave and calm. I was the one doing all of the screaming, he was calming me down.
"He is still playing football in the garden but keeps asking me if there are any dogs about; he is more aware of danger now."
Mr Price, the owner of the three-year-old cross alsatian, called Tess, was not at home yesterday, but his daughters said the dog had been put down.
Laura Kerr, aged 22, said: "Tess was put down on Sunday evening. My younger sister Hayley was in the garden.
"She is very upset and doesn't want to talk about the incident. Tess was boisterous and playful."
Her sister Natalie Price, aged 20, added: "The family are very upset by what's happened and very sorry. We are just glad Mitchell is OK.
"Tess hasn't done anything like this before. She was part of the family and it's weird she's not here any more."