A four-year-old girl is recovering in hospital after being bitten by a pit bull, but the fate of the dog is still unclear.

Cole Harbour RCMP responded to the call at a home on Arklow Drive shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.

“Basically what I was told was she bent down to pet it a little and the dog snapped and bit her,” says Martin Geertsema, the girl’s father.

The little girl is now recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery.

“She has some nerve damage to the eyebrow,” says Geertsema. “They don’t know if that nerve will come back. It was basically severed in two locations.”

Geertsema says his daughter was with a family friend while visiting the home in Cole Harbour. The dog was supposed to be locked in a room but it got out.

“It’s not just the dog, it’s also the dog owner who is responsible,” says Geertsema. “Not to say this particular owner was negligent, but this particular breed requires an owner who is knowledgeable about that dog.”

The dog was seized by animal services officers today.

It will be quarantined, observed, and assessed for ten days to determine its risk to the public.

“The family can volunteer their statements and help us with the investigation, but ultimately, it’s the officer that has discretion if charges are going to be laid or not,” says Andrea MacDonald of HRM Animal Services.

Dog owner Natasha Parker was asleep when the incident occurred.

“She sensed fear and it all went downhill from there,” she says. “She nipped her and I feel really horrible about what happened to the little girl. I’m shocked. She would never do that.”

Parker has two American Staffordshire Terrier pit bull crosses and wants her dog, Sausha, back.

“It is really out of the ordinary. My dog has never showed signs of aggression at all. I’m shocked. I feel bad for the little girl. I’m hoping she is doing all right.”

Geertsema wants to see the dog destroyed.

“If you don’t ban the dog itself, there should at least be some mandatory training for the dog owner to be a responsible owner with this particular breed,” he says.

He believes there should be mandatory training for pit bull owners and hopes his daughter’s injuries are taking seriously.

As for Sausha, animal control officers will determine what happens to her.

Parker could be issued a fine for not having the animal licensed with the city, her dog could be deemed dangerous and be placed under a number of conditions, or it could be destroyed.

But those cases are rare, according to animal services.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl