Following the tragic death of baby killed by family dogs at a home in Wales, MPs have called for the controversial Dangerous Dogs Act to be reviewed.
The three-month-old baby was killed by his Grandmother’s family pets, a Jack Russell called Lucy and a Staffordshire bull terrier called Tyson, as he lay in her living room.
The latest death follows three previous fatalities involving dogs and small children since 2006.
Cadey Lee-Deacon – killed whilst staying at grandparent’s family pub.
Ellie Lawrenson – killed at grandparent’s home whilst being looked after by grandmother
Archie Lee-Hirst – killed whilst being looked after by teenage sitter
Jaden Joseph Mack killed whilst being looked after by grandmother
It has sparked calls from politicians to have the Dangerous Dogs Act – introduced by then Home Secretary Kenneth Baker in 1991 – to be revised in an effort to prevent such tragedies continuing to unfold in the UK.
Caerphilly MP Wayne David, whose constituency covers the are where this latest death took place, said: “The Dangerous Dogs Act needs to be reviewed.
“There has been ongoing debate about which breeds need to be listed. But nobody would consider a Jack Russell terrier a ‘dangerous dog’.
“The important thing is to reinforce the message Gwent Police have made which is to make sure all dogs are supervised properly, especially when they are in close proximity to young children.
“All dogs, no matter what their breeds, need to be monitored properly, even if they are used to being around children.”
“This underlines the need to always make sure dogs are supervised, irrespective of their breeds or temperament.
“This shows that even what would appear to be docile, family pets cannot be trusted with small children and terrible things can happen.”
His words were echoed by former Welsh First Secretary and ex-Home Office Minister Alun Michael
“It’s probably sensible to review the legislation.
“I would suggest we ask for a report to be commissioned on the workings of the Act so far.
“The reason for this is the shortcomings of the Dangerous Dogs Act are largely because there was a rush to legislate in the light of incidents.
“It’s clearly not a perfect piece of legislation and there have been all sorts of problems with it over the years.
“My inclination would be to ask for a thoughtful review, see whether it’s fit for purpose and, if not, what amendments can we make to strengthen the Act’s shortcomings.”
“It’s important to remember the dictum’ ‘Laws rarely prevent what they forbid’. And this isn’t just about the law; it’s about human behaviour and common sense on the part of anybody who is an owner of a dog.”
Supporting the politician’s view that breed specific legislation has failed – Jack Russell Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not on the banned breeds list – Welsh MEP Jonathan Evans, said the focus of the law should be on education of dog owners and preventative measures to help reduce the number of dog attacks:
“We need to have a much better education process in relation to dogs.
“Nobody would put a Jack Russell on a list of dogs that would be dangerous to people, but there needs to be much stronger public information about what the risks are, particularly if you’ve got more than one dog.
“We don’t want to stop people having pets, but the more people have, the more risk there is of a pack mentality.”
“People are always surprised that such and such dog never showed an aggressive side in the past, but there needs to be better understanding that with powerful dogs – and a Staffordshire bull terrier very much falls into that category – there is a risk of real danger around children under 10.”
“But I am against the idea of saying you can’t have a particular breed of dog when there are already specific breeds of dogs banned.”
Both dogs involved in the attack had no history of aggression with neighbours coming out to say how well liked the dogs were in the community.
The incident reveals that canine fatalities can happen anywhere and that there is no amount of breed bans that will prevent further deaths.