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2-year-old girl viciously attacked by dog while visiting family in Normandy for Christmas

The police department posted graphic photos of the child's injury in hopes that someone will come forward.

Watch Dionne Howard play with her new toys and all you'll see is a happy 2-year-old girl.

But the bandages on her right cheek tell the story of a Christmas her family will likely never forget.

"For her to go through this, especially around the holiday time, it has been tough," said her father, Donte Howard of Troy, Illinois.

He said Dionne and other family members had just arrived at her great-grandmother's house on Woodale Lane in Normandy.

He said as they were all getting out of the car, an unexpected guest on four legs appeared out of nowhere.

"As they were walking up to the door, my dad noticed this dog back by the car a little bit. So he took his jacket and tried to shoo the dog away," Howard explained.

But that didn't work.

Instead, after about 10 seconds, he said the dog pounced and latched on to Dionne without any provocation on her part.

"Looks like he got her by the jaw," Howard said.

The attack knocked her and her young cousin over, though the other girl was not injured.

After a few more seconds, Dionne emerged with a badly injured and bleeding cheek with a large piece of skin just dangling off her face.

Howard said, "My sister picked both of them up. We didn't even know she was bleeding until we got inside. By that time, the dog had just run away."

Relatives quickly rushed Dionne to DePaul Hospital, before she was transferred to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.

Amazingly, through it all, Dionne has shown an incredible amount of strength for experiencing such a traumatic incident at such a young age.

"She didn't cry when the dog attacked and didn't cry on the way to the hospital. When we got there, she might've started crying because I was crying," Howard said. 

After spending three days in the hospital, Dionne was released on Christmas and was able to spend time with family.

Howard said his daughter doesn't appear to have any life-threatening or long-term damage. Though, they are set to meet with a plastic surgeon on Friday.

"Thankfully, it (the skin) was still hanging so they were able to patch it back on so the doctor did a pretty good job of putting it back on," he said.

As for the dog, Normandy Police did not return calls and e-mails to Five on Your Side on Thursday.

But in a Facebook post, the department described it as a white boxer/pit bull mix with brown markings or spots on its face. Click here to see the post on their Facebook page. WARNING: The photos are graphic.

They encouraged anyone who sees the animal to contact them at 314-385-3300 ext. 3173.

Howard said having spent a lot of time at his grandmother's house in the neighborhood, stray dogs aren't common.

He believes this particular dog was trained to be aggressive and happened to get out of its cage or backyard.

"No one saw a leash or a collar or anything. This dog was aggressive. It was someone's dog that I believe was trained," he said.