08/28/2012 01:20 EDT | Updated 10/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Pit Bull Attack On Four-Year-Old Sparks Call For Ban

A White Rock family is calling for a ban on pit bulls after their four-year-old daughter was attacked by a friend's dog while playing at a backyard barbeque.

Emma-Leigh Cranford had being playing with the pit bull just days before the attack. But her parents Elizabeth and Mike Cranford say the dog pinned her against a fence and bit her face savagely at a barbecue last week.

"All I heard was a growl and she was pinned between the bench and the fence and he was just on top of her and it happened so quick," Elizabeth told CBC News.

"When I had her in my arms I didn't know if she was dying."

The girl was raced to hospital where she needed two hours of surgery to repair a large wound on her face. Now she's recovering at home, but is left with a scar on her face.

Blaming the breed — not the owner

The Cranfords say the two-year-old pit bull was put down immediately after the attack, but they don't blame the owner, who they describe as a good woman.

For years there have been calls for bans on pit bulls, but defenders of the breed say the problem is not the breed itself — it's the owners.

Elizabeth says until her daughter was attacked she believed that too.

"My brother's friend who owned the dog, she's a good person, not evil, a stable person," she said.

The Cranfords say they now believe the breed is the problem, and they are calling on the B.C government to ban pit bulls, just like Ontario and Winnipeg.

"When it happened to my daughter it really hit home," said Mike.

The Cranfords say it's a miracle Emma-Leigh isn't more traumatized, but they make sure she is not in the room when they talk about what happened, and they want to make sure no other child suffers the same fate, or worse.

"We would like to see pit bulls banned and I'm very serious. That is what I would like to see, yup, before it happens ... and somebody else is not so fortunate," said Elizabeth.

A recent report in Toronto showed the number of dog bites fell since a pit bull ban was put in place seven years ago, but the Ontario ban is under attack by opponents.