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Man Dies Following Dog Attack

A 52 year old man from Yorkshire has died after he was attacked by a dog that had only recently been returned to its owner, for fears it was dangerous.


52 year old David Ellam was taken to hospital by paramedics on Monday morning after police were called to the Sheepridge area of Huddersfield. Mr Ellam was pronounced dead at 9pm that evening at Huddersfield Royal infirmary.

The dog in question was seized by police in June this year after a number of complaints from the public, claiming the dog was dangerous. However, the dog was returned to its owners after it was found not to be a pit bull terrier, a breed banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act, but a female bull terrier.

Neighbours who witnessed the attack on Monday said that Mr Ellam was trying to protect his own dog, a terrier, when he was bitten on the head, arm and leg. He was left unconscious and when officers arrived at the scene, they had to use a fire extinguisher to fend off the bull terrier.

A 29 year old man, thought to be the owner of the bull terrier and Mr Ellam’s neighbour, has been arrested in relation to the incident.

IPCC Investigation

The incident has been referred to the independent police complaints commission. The IPCC will now decide if the dog, which is being detained in police kennels, will be returned to the owner.

Leading the investigation is DCI Mark Swift of West Yorkshire police’s homicide and major inquiry team. He said:

“Clearly our thoughts go out to the family at this tragic time. They are understandably devastated by what has happened and are being supported by specially trained officers.

“Our investigation is continuing. We believe that the victim was out with his own dog at the time of the attack near to his home address on Riddings Road. His dog, a Yorkshire terrier, was also injured during the incident and received emergency veterinary care.”

Types of dangerous dog

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 introduced ‘breed specific legislation’ that bans the ownership, breeding, selling, or giving away of four types of dog:

• Fila Brasileiro
• Pit Bull Terrier
• Japanese Tosa
• Dogo Argentino

Breaching the legislation may result in a fine of up to £5,000 and a potential prison sentence of up to six months.

Dangerous dogs – police action

There are several circumstances under which the police may take action against a suspected dangerous dog:

• A report of a dog being encouraged to fight other dogs
• A report of a banned breed that has not been granted exemption
• A report of breeding, selling, abandoning, or giving away a banned breed
• A report that a dog has been dangerously out of control (i.e. causing or threatening injury)

There are an estimated 10 million pet dogs in the UK. If you think that you may be in possession of a banned breed, you may qualify for an “exemption” if the police deem that your animal does not pose a threat. Qualifying for an exemption involves a court procedure that may impose conditions such as muzzling in public.

Dog attacks – expert advice

If you have been attacked by a dog, even where the dog did not cause physical harm, you may be entitled to compensation. Whatever your experience involving a dangerous dog attack, speak to our expert team of personal injury solicitors today to discover how we could help you. For further information, call 0800 888 6 888 or email .

Source: Guardian; Hampson Hughes

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