Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Call for action on dangerous dogs

Shirley and Michael Anderson, the parents of Jade Anderson who was mauled to death by dogs
Shirley and Michael Anderson, with Julie Hilling, MP, Angela McGlynn and Luciana Berger MP before handing in a petition at 10 Downing Street

Parents of children mauled to death by dogs have handed in a petition at 10 Downing Street calling for David Cameron to take action to prevent more attacks.

The parents of 14-year-old Jade Anderson and the mother of four-year-old John Paul Massey were in London to hand in more than 4,500 signatures supporting their campaign.

They called for preventative measures and education to put a stop to the 210,000 attacks and 6,000 hospital visits caused by dangerous dogs each year.

Changes to the law announced in the Queen's Speech mean dog owners will not be immune from prosecution if their animal attacks someone on private property.

But the campaigners described the measures as insufficient. In March, Michael and Shirley Anderson's daughter was savaged by four dogs - believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers - as she was visiting the home of a friend in Atherton near Wigan.

Mr Anderson, 34, from Atherton, said: "We want David Cameron to have a good in-depth look at it and get some legislation put in place with the Dangerous Dogs Act.

"We want early prevention to take place introducing dog control notices and education - just common sense really. We want owners to become aware of their pets - if you have them in your home you have got to be a responsible owner."

The petition comes after pensioner Clifford Clarke, 79, became the second person to be killed by a dog this year. He was attacked by an "out-of-control" pet, believed to be a bull mastiff cross, in the garden of his home in Clubmoor, Liverpool, in May.

Asked how Mr Clarke's death had made him feel, coming so soon after his own child was killed by a dog, Mr Anderson said: "It's just going through the same again. It's already hard as it is at the moment but what we are doing and trying to prevent and helping people - we just carry on, we have got other children and we know we have just got to do what we have got to do.

"We're not here for a ban on breeds of dog, we are here to promote good ownership of dogs and early prevention from attacks from taking place."

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