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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

MARRERO, La. -- A Marrero girl is recovering after being attacked by what her family says was a pit bull over the weekend.

Her parents are speaking out and warning other families about what they're calling a real danger to children.

'Under here you can put your finger straight through her lip -- that's how big it was,' said Connie West pointing to her daughter's injuries.

Stitches and a swollen face isn't how Diamond Banks and her family hoped she would start kindergarten. Now this Marrero family is living that reality.

'I watch it all the time. Like all the time. Stuff like that happens and now it's happened to my child. I just don't know what to do,' West said.

On Saturday afternoon, they were attending a family gathering on Woodmere Boulevard in Harvey. Diamond's mother says someone brought a pit bull to the house, which at her fiance's request was taken to a bedroom.

Children ultimately followed to play.

'I walked in the bathroom and I heard her scream. This scream was not like my children screams. So I thought, 'oh my God, one of the children got hurt,'' West said. 'I walked in and all of a sudden, they said: 'don't look.' I'm looking down and seeing my child being held by someone else with a towel on her face.'

West said the dog gripped onto her 5-year-old's lip first and then her right cheek. According to West, another child grabbed something to push the dog away.

West said Diamond was taken by ambulance to Children's Hospital in New Orleans where she got stitches. The family says plastic surgery could follow.

Jefferson Parish officials confirm the dog is being held at the West Bank animal shelter. Standard protocol requires a 10-day rabies quarantine for dog's that bite people.

'It never works out for dogs and it obviously never works out for children. This poor little girl from what I understand really loved animals, or really loves animals, could be permanently traumatized by this,' said Gallivan Burwell with Upward Dog Training and Counseling.

The certified dog trainer says it is never a good idea to leave young kids alone with either the family dog or a new canine.

'It doesn't matter what the dog is. It's about the environment, and more critically than anything it's about whether a dog is socialized and it's about parental supervision,' Burwell said.

Her young life changed in a split second with her family wanting to share this warning.

'Don't leave pits around kids because they can play to the point where they don't know they're playing, but they can really do damage,' said West.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says the owner of the dog will not be facing charges.

No word from Jefferson Parish Animal Control on whether or not this dog has prior offenses that would require a hearing; and possibly euthanasia. Diamond's family says they have contacted an attorney.

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