November 30th, 2009

Police are to blame – fact

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

After the tragic death of a four-year-old killed by a dog in the family home in Merseyside, the Telegraph knows who is to blame. It’s headline today reads “A four-year-old boy was mauled to death by his family’s bull terrier-type dog at his grandmother’s house, which police had been warned was allegedly being used for dog breeding but failed to investigate“.

Police were called to an address where they shot the dog. John-Paul Massey, the boy concerned had been mauled & killed by the dog which was described as a ‘bull terrier-like’ dog. The boy’s grandmother was also bitten when she tried to stop the dog.

It turns out that the local housing department had rung Merseyside Police in February with concerns that the household was being used to breed dogs. There had been no mention at that time of any danger.

Now, the crux of the matter is whether the complaint in February had suggested the dogs being bred were one of the banned breeds. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans only four types of dog. This means that basic possession & breeding within the UK is illegal. Those breeds are the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

The breed of the dog involved in this incident hasn’t been released though news reports suggest it has been sent for forensic tests to determine the breed. This suggests that it may be a pitbull, these are notoriously difficult to identify as they are similar to other breeds  of bull terrier. Some police dog handlers are suitably trained to identify pitbulls, otherwise an expert is usually called upon to determine the breed.

Chf Supt Steve Ashley said: “We have had one complaint in February this year from a housing officer that the house was being used to breed dogs.  The operator decided it was not a police matter, that is not Merseyside Police policy and as a result that will form a separate police investigation. The words `dangerous dog’ were not used in the call to police.  A qualified officer should have called the complainant back to ask for more details why this was a cause for concern.”

If the intial complaint was that someone was breeding pitbulls, then he is probably correct & the police will be be to blame for the child’s death. The owner, who breeds pitbulls & deems it safe to have them around children will receive less vilification.

If the complaint wasn’t that the household was breeding pitbulls, then the Chief Superintendent is talking ouf of his arse.

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