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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  1. copper bottom says:


    its always someone else’s fault…

    poor little kid…

    December 1st, 2009 at 06:44

  2. Willing and Eager says:

    Not even just “someone else” copper bottom, it’s always the Police’s fault. Apparently the police are now responsible for every single facet of everyone’s life. Maybe I should phone up the local nick and ask them why they haven’t done the washing up in my house, I’m concerned I might be breeding dangerous strains of e-coli.

    Tragic about the young lad, but as 200 says, surely the owner of said dog is the responsible one here. I know you can never be certain any dog will be safe with children, but that’s a decision taken by the dog’s owner/the child’s parent. Maybe we should start putting responsibilty for idiocy and criminality onto the shoulders of the idiots and criminals…

    December 1st, 2009 at 08:38

  3. Patrick says:

    I see that the Lasting Tribute website has updated its memorial pages to include young John-Paul.

    It’s a very respectful memorial to him and somewhere to pay tribute.

    December 1st, 2009 at 09:27

  4. Paul says:

    Not being an expert on this case, but I have bred dogs on a very small scale.

    It says the child was killed by the family’s dog. If this is the case, isn’t the fact that the dog was being bred from more or less irrelevant ?

    They’d have had the family dog anyway !

    This could open up a whole new vista of Policing….


    PC Smith: Hello Mrs Jones, regarding your earlier call when you said a man looked at you in a funny way. I’m just ringing to check he didn’t actually murder you with a machine gun.

    December 1st, 2009 at 09:46

  5. rafanon says:

    It makes me angry. A breed of dog probably being kept as a status symbol has attacked and killed an innocent child. The natural grief process is to blame someone. In this case The Telegraph will blame whomever supplies the biggest “scoop” and sells the most copies.

    The family I fear (like the poor mother in the Sun-v-Gordon Brown Handwriting farce) will be goaded by the press to persue this line in order to gain a rediculous amount of compensation from another cash-strapped force.

    He who bought/bred the dog is the only one responsible for this tragic event. My sympathies go to the boy who has lost the opportunity to live a nice life due to the stupidity and possible arrogance of his parents/guardians.

    Yet again I find myself saying R.I.P. R.I.P little man.

    Heart breaking.

    December 1st, 2009 at 10:37

  6. JEB says:

    Sadly, another example of the loss of common sense in this country. A family breed a dangerous dog which kills a young child – the police are blamed – how much can the police do? Find the person who raised the dog, who was responsible for the dog, who felt it was safe to let the child with the dog and blame them… Please can we just take charge of our own lives?

    December 1st, 2009 at 13:03

  7. Fee says:

    While any dog can turn on a child, most are unlikely to do serious harm. My mother-in-law had a wee Yorkshire terrier which was prone to nipping visitors. For that reason, it was shoved into the garden when my kids visited, and they never stayed overnight. Quite simply, I didn’t trust the mutt not to take a chunk out of them, so I made sure it couldn’t happen.

    Parents have to take responsibility for their children, and sometimes that means offending dog-owning relatives. Blaming the police is only deflecting the blame from those who should have known better. It’s an awful thing to have happened, but it wasn’t the fault of the police.

    December 1st, 2009 at 13:14

  8. Graham Smith says:

    IMHO the only people to blame are the child’s parents, who allowed him to be present in the house without adequate supervision.

    And, assuming them to be caring people who loved their son dearly and yet made this one, tragic, error of judgment that resulted in him losing his life in such an abrupt and violent manner, then no sentence that any court could impose on them will prove as effective as their own consciences. My heart goes out to them.

    December 1st, 2009 at 16:17

  9. Tony F says:

    Much as I am sorry about the appalling death of a child, It seems to me that only one sort of person would want to own a dog of that ilk. And they reap what they sow….

    December 1st, 2009 at 16:29

  10. PC A HUNN says:

    What were senior officers doing putting their hands up straight away and saying “yes it was our fault”?. Totaly playing into the hands of the rabid jurnos who were looking to blame the police. They’ve basicaly tried the call taker (who very possibly through poor training made a mistake) by media instead of doing a proper investigation before disclosing the facts.

    Also what was that SMT knacker talking about when he went on about getting an expert to examine the dog etc?. He made it sound like there is a dog breeding expert on every shift on call 24/7??. They’re like hens teeth, are nearly always some sort of self employed Civilian Vet who charge an absolute fortune for their word to count for anything in a court case. Every time I have been to a Dangerous Dog type job there has been too little proof for the dog to be removed and that the Dog was a cross breed.

    I bet that most likely that even if that report was acted on that dog would have still been in that house to kill that poor little lad. The parents/grandparents are soley to blame for owning a dangerous animal and leaving the child to play with it.

    December 1st, 2009 at 17:16

  11. copper bottom says:

    good old melv- a constant in an otherwise chaotic world…

    i wonder what melv does for a ‘living’?

    or is he a tree hugger…

    December 1st, 2009 at 17:26

  12. copper bottom says:

    mtg- please- at anytime- feel free to sod off…

    do you have even the smallest brain in your head?

    how many Police do you think this country would need to be able to proactively monitor


    Council Dog warden?

    council ‘dog’ warden- see the word ‘dog’ its a big clue sherlock…

    December 1st, 2009 at 18:07

  13. MarkUK says:

    There are bull terriers and bull terriers. Pit bulls were bred to be vicious. Staffies and English bull terriers were bred to be tenacious.

    Staffies (and all other dogs) CAN be dangerous in the wrong circumstances – usually brought about by bad owners.

    Many moons past, I worked with a bloke who bred, on a small scale, pedigree Staffies. He reckoned that they were brilliant family dogs but could be a problem to people outside the family if they weren’t trained properly. They had an incredibly strong pack instinct and would die before letting the “pack” – i.e. family members – come to harm.

    He did, though, have to be very careful who he sold the pups to. He was thinking mainly of dog fighting, but the same could be said of those who use the dogs as status symbols of “hardness” and haven’t a clue of how to control a Yorkie, let alone a Staffie.

    I’d really like a brindled Staffie, but I know I haven’t the time to give to a dog like that, so at the moment I’m dogless.

    December 1st, 2009 at 22:03

  14. Cogidubnus says:

    Frankly in cases like this, the solution is so bloody easy…send the parents/guardians to the vet for a lethal injection…send the dog to MTG for comprehensive re-education…

    December 1st, 2009 at 22:20

  15. Cogidubnus says:

    I didn’t say whose re-education did I? How forgetful of me…

    December 1st, 2009 at 22:21

  16. Cogidubnus says:

    I didn’t say whose re-education did I? Oh how remiss…

    December 1st, 2009 at 22:21

  17. Jabadaw says:

    What is it with MTG and his weak attempts at cognitive cohesion?

    I quote – MTG: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, it wasn’t police who set a ferocious animal upon an infant. – clearly it wasn’t, so what your point here?

    MTG:Many officers are eager to duck the issue but deplorable service has resulted in a tragedy that a modicum of diligent policing could have prevented. – Are you now suggesting that the Police go and search every house in the land to see if the conditions are such that a tragic death might ensue?

    MTG:This may be an inconvenient truth to acknowledge but until the message gets through to the dimmest of police, history will repeat itself. – What is inconvenient about this truth? A civilian telephone operator takes a call about dogs being bred in a house. Now since when has it been illegal to breed dogs at a house? Was the word or words ‘Pitbull’ dog(s) used in that phone call? I think that Merseyside Police should release the tape. But even if those words were used what system has the SMT of the Merseyside Police got in place to deal with such a call? Probably not a lot as sometime last year, responsibility for dogs passed to the Local Authority. i.e. the local council. Also, the local housing authority has it’s own responsibility if the breeding of dogs is against it’s tenancy agreements.

    Also, would there be any of this hoo ha if the poor child had been savaged and killed by a Jack Russell type dog? Or, a Golden Retriever? I think not.

    December 1st, 2009 at 22:26

  18. 200 says:


    we could solve a lot of problems by comnstant interference with people’s lives, but you’d have an even bigger opportunity for a police slag-fest, which way do you want it?

    December 1st, 2009 at 23:09

  19. copper bottom says:

    as i said above…

    December 2nd, 2009 at 05:49

  20. copper bottom says:

    since you have never met me professionally (i think…) then you cant really comment on my ability as an officer…

    However, your posts speak volumes…

    I have an idea!

    become a special constable for a few months…

    deal with the jobs we deal with – then come back and have a more educated informed opinion – instead of the hate filled dribble you normally post…

    December 2nd, 2009 at 09:52

  21. copper bottom says:

    sack the police lol…

    20-mins before you are begging us to come back…

    December 2nd, 2009 at 09:53

  22. john says:

    The solution is quite simple: Set-up a dedicated agency to monitor all dogs.
    It could be headed by a retired senior police officer (suggestions in an unsealed envelope) and staffed by retired council officers.
    It would soon have offices in run-down industrial estates across England and Wales (Scotland would have their own agencies and North Ireland would just ban dogs) with staffing levels so high that unemployment would be nil in the areas where they had offices (mirrored by a rise in health food shops in those areas)
    It would need (of course) its own monitoring office (dogsted) which would inspect each office to determine its efficiency (not whether it was/could-do the work….just that it opened at 9 and closed at 5….4 days a week….Friday it opens at 10 and closes at 3)
    At the end of the settling in period the agency would:
    1. be aware of the fact that people kept dogs as pets
    2. Had no idea that dogs are totally unpredicatable
    3. So are their owners.
    Buit to reach those 3 points would cost about 1 million quid per dog….across the uk (well, England and Wales)
    And the police would still get the blame because:
    1. All governments are composed of cowards who never, ever, accept blame when they can get others to accept it.

    December 2nd, 2009 at 09:55

  23. copper bottom says:

    Ha! you make me laugh…

    I didnt think it would take long to see you true colours…

    you are a bully – making your petty threats…

    well- do your worst… I long ago lost my fear of people like you -sir…

    December 2nd, 2009 at 13:22

  24. Jabadaw says:

    Copper Bottom,

    It is highly unlikely that MTG would be accepted as a Special Constable as he is too immature and would not yet be of the minimum age. (at least, that is what his writings that I’ve read on these pages would suggest.) Also there is something in the way that MTG structures his sentences that suggest to me that he may not be from these shores. But possibly hail from a former colony.

    December 2nd, 2009 at 18:50

  25. Civ_In_The_City says:

    I`m fed up of senior police officers holding their hands up immediately any criticism looks like its headed their way. It may be the case that police and councils are part of a PC-brigade that is constantly looking for every last infinitesimal way to ‘improve the service we give to our commooneetees’, but at some point reality has to kick in.

    On the one hand government takes away half a billion of police funding, assures us it won`t impact on service in any shape way or form, and on the other hand they broadcast highly expensive prime-time T.V. ads about the Policing Pledge. Telling the public they are guaranteed a visit from an officer and at a TIME and a PLACE of their (the publics) choice.

    Fact one, the world which police and councils staff (including social workers) now occupy is not the same one as the public or the ‘communities’ they purportedly ‘serve’. Nothing even close. For one thing nobody except the police and council staff talk about f*cking ‘communities’ all the time.

    Fact two, if there`s a half billion quid of waste in the system, that isn`t the fault of the police; that`s Whitehall, quangos, and balls-up Blair (and Brown) at fault.

    Fact three, the ‘system’ whatever that is, is WRONG. Thought I`d mention it.

    Fact four. The police response to the dog phone call (and I`m sure they would have responded vigorously if the Policing Pledge hadn`t meant that every last uniform was round at Wayne and Tracys place (at a time of their choosing) to discuss how Wayne looked at Stacey funny and has been getting nasty texts ever since). But I digress.

    Fact four is simply this. The police response, or lack thereof, is but one tiny random drop in an ocean of depravity, desolation and end-of-the-world-ness which blights broken Britain. It is just one symptom of a rampant, virulent disease that runs through all society.

    It is a mere sneeze in a fortnight of bed-ridden flu. And you treat a sneeze with a quick wipe of a hanky, not 6 months of anti-viral drugs followed by check ups every month for life afterwards.

    Instead of treating the real disease, the police will be forced to jump through even more hoops resulting in more pressure, more targets. And WORSE service than before.

    But if the government invent a ‘Policing’ Pledge, everything is guaranteed to work. Isn`t it?

    December 2nd, 2009 at 21:45

  26. The Bear says:

    Is it just me or does the use of the word ‘indoctrination’ by MTG in his original post sound somewhat sinister (Hitler/Stalin all used ‘indoctrination’ to bend the minds of their so called followers)

    December 4th, 2009 at 19:08

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