The 56-year-old man, whose name has not been released, handed himself in to the police the day after the attack in Chingford Essex.

The girl was mauled in front of her parents and younger brother at Pole Hill, Wooodberry at noon on Saturday.

She also sustained serious injuries to her neck and shoulder in the dog attack, and has undergone plastic surgery in hospital, where she is said to be in a “comfortable condition”.

The dog, thought to be a black and white bull terrier, was seized.

Det Sgt Stuart Cheek, of Metropolitan Police, said: “This was an appalling incident that left a young child with serious injuries which are likely to scar her for life.”

The man will appear in court today, charged with allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and causing injury under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Officers and paramedics arrived at the scene soon after the attack, but the dog and the man with it had gone, the Metropolitan Police said.

The man was described as white, in his late 30s or early 40s, with cropped blond hair.

Sergeant Cheek said: “I would appeal to anyone who saw what happened, was in the area at the time of the attack, or noticed anything since that might assist the investigation, to get in touch as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 020 3276 0967 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.