The girl's father came to her rescue, but his actions have landed him in big trouble.
He says he did what he had to do in the spur of the moment, shooting and killing the dog moments after it attacked his daughter.
But because of his criminal history, he's not allowed to have a gun, and now he's facing felony charges.
4-year-old Zaynah Ford is still in the hospital after she was mauled on the head by the family dog, a pit-bull named Tobin. The attack happened moments after getting out of the swimming pool of her grandmother's home in Phoenix on Saturday.
Her father Chris ran to help after hearing his daughter screaming.
"My baby is bleeding, I can't even see her face, I don't know where all the blood is coming from, I just see a big hole in her head... I pulled him off my daughter; I threw him, as soon as I threw him I grabbed my daughter and ran inside," said Chris Ford.
It is what Chris did next that had him facing felony charges.
"I shot down; I shot my own dog four times because he attacked my daughter," said Ford.
Chris said he grabbed his mother's rifle and shot Tobin four times after calling 9-1-1.
"I stood back about right here, and at that point I fired down, and you could see the bullet hole, fired down there, fired down there, fired down there, and fire down there," he said.
Because he had a prior felony conviction for ID theft in 2004, Chris is not allowed to have a gun, so he's facing one felony charge for that as well as endangerment and animal cruelty charges.
He says he felt he had no other choice, and was trying to protect his family.
"I felt that it was my responsibility at that point because if he was a killer dog, he was still part of my family," said Ford.
Chris says the dog and his daughter were together every day, and he says he never saw any signs of aggression before. The little girl's skull was punctured in the attack, and she will have permanent disfigurement from the injuries.