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Toddler Dies Following Dog Attack

A three year old boy has died and a woman has been arrested, after the child was mauled to death by a dog at a house in Essex yesterday.

Second fatal attack this week

The incident is the second fatal dog attack to happen in the UK in just four days. 52 year old David Ellam died after being attacked by a neighbour’s dog in Huddersfield earlier this week.

Essex police were called to a residential street in Halstead at 5.40pm on Thursday, after neighbours heard screams coming from a property. The child, later named by police as Dexter Neal, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridgeshire by East of England ambulance service; however he later died from his injuries.

According to Essex police, a 29 year old woman has been arrested for allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control and injuring a person. The dog in question, an American bulldog, has been detained in police kennels.

Calls for new licensing system

Labour MP Barry Sheerman, who represents Huddersfield, has called for a new system of dog licensing and a full inquiry following the death of the child. He told the Guardian:

“These two deaths in four days mean we have got to seriously look at the evidence of a proper licensing system for dogs. Other parts of the world do it so much better than us.”

He added:

“It should be mandatory. The old dog licence was not a proper licensing system, there were no real checks on the appropriateness of the home where the pet would be brought up. People are getting dogs and not looking after them properly, and we know there is a ghastly subculture of dog fighting up and down this country. We all know it happens, but it’s below the surface.

“Every dog should be examined in terms of its breed and appropriateness for the home it is going to go to. Licences should be refused if the home is deemed inappropriate.”

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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