If you ever needed proof that computer games are evil, here it is. Probably.
Megan Walker was playing the virtual pet puppy game Nintendogs at a friend’s house in Bolton when the friend’s dog “went beserk” after it heard barking on the game.
The bull mastiff, called Saracen, sank its teeth into the poor nine-year-old’s face, biting her several times, and ripped off her top lip. [Yeah, we know this is a lurcher, Ed.]
“I think this game should carry some kind of warning,” the girl’s grandmother Jean Taylor told the paper. “People should be told not to play it when there are dogs in the room. I blame the game for what happened to Megan. If she hadn’t been playing it I don’t think the dog would have gone for her.”
Megan was taken by ambulance to Manchester Children’s Hospital and had to endure two hours of surgery. Luckily, doctors were able to re-attach the lip - quick-thinking police officers had brought it to the hospital on ice.
Mrs Taylor said that hopefully the surgery had worked, adding that little Megan had been very brave and hadn’t cried once.
Megan had been in the care of Mrs Taylor as her mum, Leanne Walker, was on holiday in Jamaica for her birthday.
Ms Melville - the family friend who Megan was visiting when the attack took place - was unavailable to comment, as was Nintendo.
But could there be more to this shaggy dog story than meets the eye?
Why did Saracen go so crazy? Should Nintendogs carry a public health warning?
The clue may well be hidden towards the end of the story.
Ms Melville may have been unavailable for comment but it was reported that she had confided one minor piece of information to officers.
The Daily Mail explained: “It is understood that she told police that Megan may have kicked Saracen and that is why he attacked her.”
It will be interesting to see what line the police investigation takes.
Saracen has since been put down.