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Uncle's dog kills 18-month-old girl

By Alison Thorpe     Apr 18, 2010 in Crime
An 18-month-old girl was mauled to death by her uncle's pet dog yesterday in what police have described as an "appalling incident."
Police were called to a house in Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday afternoon. They found the toddler, who was with her grandmother and three-year-old sister, unconscious and suffering from severe injuries to her face. The child, who has not yet been named, was taken to hospital where she died.
It is understood the girl's 32-year-old uncle is the owner of the dog, which police believe to be an American bulldog. He has been arrested and is being questioned on suspicion of manslaughter, although he is not believed to have been at the house when the attack took place.
Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles of Sussex Police said:
The dog picked up the child and attacked it in front of her family. Two workmen at a property nearby heard screaming and ran to the house to help. They were able to distract the animal, who dropped the baby from its jaws. One of them then pulled the child to safety before an ambulance was called.
File photo: Pitbull terrier.
File photo: Pitbull terrier.
Dante Alighieri
The attack comes just days after the uncle of another child killed in a dog attack was charged under the UK's Dangerous Dogs Act. Four-year-old John Paul Massey died following an attack by his uncle's American pit bull, Uno, in November last year. The Dangerous Dogs Act became UK law in 1991 and prohibits ownership of particular breeds of dogs, specifically those viewed as fighting dogs, such as pit bulls. The law also states that the owner of any breed of dog found to be uncontrolled in a public space is committing an offence.
Ownership of rottweilers is not prohibited in UK
Ownership of rottweilers is not prohibited in UK
Fatal attacks by dogs not banned under the law, and occurring in private residences such as this most recent one, have led to a review of the law. In 2006, 5-month-old Cadey-Lee Deacon died after being attacked by two rottweilers at her grandparents' pub. 13-month-old Archie-Lee Hirst also died after an attack by a rottweiler at his grandparents' home in 2007 and, in 2009, 3-month-old Jaden Mack was mauled to death by his grandmother's Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Jack Russell. Consequently, there are plans to extend the powers of the Dangerous Dogs Act to include attacks in private residences.
Another planned addition to the Dangerous Dogs Act, to force all owners to carry insurance to protect them in the event of their dog attacking somebody, was scrapped following complaints that it would penalise responsible owners who already abide by the law.
A post mortem on the victim of the latest attack is due to be carried out today. Police have confirmed the dog will be put to sleep.
More about Dangerous dogs act, American bulldog, Rottweiler, Manslaughter, Mauled
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