‘Dog attack’ on little girl divides the internet

Footage of a dog attack on a terrified mother and daughter in Sydney’s south has gone viral online but people on social media say all is not as it seems.

In the video shown on 7 News, Nadia Taoube and her seven-year-old daughter can be seen walking past a home in Bardwell Valley on Sunday when a large dog bounds up to them. The pair come to an immediate stop before the little girl suddenly backs away.

Running in the direction they've just come from with the powerful canine following, another home surveillance camera captures the child falling to the ground as she screams out in panic. While she backs up, the dog jumps around the girl as her mother attempts to shoo it away with her coat.

The dog following the little girl (left) and the dog standing over the girl while she lays on the ground (right).
The dog appeared to set upon the little girl as she walked down a street in Bardwell Valley in Sydney's south with her mum on Sunday. Source: Seven News

Pulling her daughter to her feet, Ms Taoube then tries to shield the seven-year-old with her body while the dog continues to jump up at them. Suddenly two men are caught on camera sprinting up the driveway towards the pair.

“It was just going at her, going at her, she was screaming and crying,” witness Billy Zahr told Seven News. “I even ran away from it. I came out to be a hero and I ended up being the victim.”

“As soon as I started running I can hear the screaming,” his brother Mohamed added. “She’s telling her mum, ‘mum, I almost died, the dog almost killed me.”

While the men try to hold the dog back, the mother and daughter escape down the street, with the seven-year-old left with just a few scratches.

Two men hold the dog back from the girl and her mum.
Fortunately for the mother and daughter, two men came running to the rescue and pulled the dog away. Source: Seven News

'Dog just wanted to play'

But users on social media have interpreted the video in a different light. More than 172,000 have watched the clip since it was uploaded on Monday, with many believing the dog was trying to play and the girl's screaming only made the situation worse

“You’ve got to be kidding, that dog was desperately wanting to play,” one person wrote. “I appreciate the girl was panicking but that’s simply due to a lack of education regarding dog behaviour from her parents.”

“OMG are you serious, that’s not an aggressive dog, he’s clearly wanting a play,” another said. “The kid made it 100000 percent worse by screaming like that,” someone else added.

But not everyone agreed. “How do we know it was trying to play and not attack?” one woman asked. “That poor little girl was petrified. I’m sure she wasn’t expecting some dog to come at her in that way!

Others were convinced the signs were clear. “Because of the body language,” someone wrote, “[it’s] not aggressive at all. If that dog was intending to harm, that girl would have more than a few scratches.”

“[It’s] tail was up and wagging,” another said. “At no point was there any growling or barking. The jaw never once opened.” While someone else also said the girl’s mother “needs to teach her kid how to react when around a dog".

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.