THE father of a five-year-old girl who was bitten on the face by a dog has branded the irresponsible the dog owners 'cowards'.

Nieve, from Clayton, was standing in a queue at a food stall at an event in Calder Homes Park, in Hebden Bridge, on Sunday just before 3pm.

She was holding her grandmother's hand when a Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog, which was on a lead, jumped up at her. It bit her on the face, tearing her lower eye lid and destroying her tear duct. It also bit her on the leg.

Her father, Chris, whose did not want to give his surname, said his mother immediately picked his daughter up with blood streaming from her face, but the two men who were with the dog just ran off.

"It was a cowardly thing on their part, to run off when they knew their dog had attacked a child. I don't have any problem with dogs. We have a Staffie of our own. We've had him for seven years and he has never been aggressive. It's not the dogs, it's the owners. They should come forward and hold their hands up and say they are sorry."

Nieve was taken to Calderdale Royal Hospital and a specialist eye surgeon was brought in to repair the damage to her eye.

"The reconstruction to her eyelid looks great but they won't know if the repair to her tear duct will work for another couple of months. If not it will mean her eye will water a lot and she will have to be on medication all her life. Hopefully it has worked," he said.

"Nieve is being very good about it and is home again and playing happily. She's young enough to get over it and hopefully there will be very little scarring. I just want this dog to be found before it attacks another child. Nieve's injuries could have been a lot worse. She could have lost an eye. The next child may not be as lucky."

West Yorkshire Police confirmed they were looking for two men who were seen with a ginger/brown and white Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog. The two men with it are described as white, in their 50s, broad built with glasses. One was described as bald or with very short hair and was wearing a black or navy and white horizontal striped shirt.

PCSO Gareth Helliwell said: "The two men with the dog have apparently left the area without checking on the girl's welfare or leaving any details. We need to identify these two men and would urge anyone with information about who they are, or indeed the men themselves, to ring Valley North NPT on 101.