Dangerous Dogs: Mother Who Lost 4-Year-Old Son Urges Cameron To Change Law
The mother of a four-year-old boy who was savaged and killed by an illegal breed of dog has written to the Prime Minister calling for a change in the law.
John-Paul Massey suffered multiple injuries when he was attacked by the family pet at his grandmother's home in Liverpool in November 2009.
The boy's uncle Christian Foulkes, 23 (pictured above), admitted owning the animal, called Uno, and was jailed for four months in 2010.
Grandmother Helen Foulkes, 64, admitted one charge of keeping a dangerous dog and was given a four-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and was banned from owning a dog again.
Today John-Paul's mother Angela McGlynn told BBC Breakfast that the family believed Uno was an American bulldog and they were not aware of any dangerous dog lists.
She said she had written to the prime minister calling for tougher dog laws which would see them muzzled both in public places and in owners' homes.
She said: "They should be muzzled around children under 12 because children over 12 can understand the dog's body language a bit more."
She said muzzling dogs indoors as well as outdoors was the only way to stop dogs doing "any lasting damage".
Ms McGlynn said she had received a reply from David Cameron, who said her proposals would be "taken into consideration".
She said: "All I want to do is raise pet awareness basically, because you do think when the dog is brought up as part of the family it becomes part of the furniture and you don't expect it, and it did happen, and it does happen and it doesn't have to happen.
"It's not down to the owners. I know some dogs are mistreated but some dogs aren't and they do turn and I would just say rather safe than sorry, really."
Earlier this week a six-year-old girl lost most of her ear when she was savaged by a dog.
The child was in Pole Hill, Chingford, north east London, with her parents and three-year-old brother when the attack happened.
A man has appeared in court charged with allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control.
Gary Hindley, 56, of Woodberry Way, Chingford, appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court, where he admitted allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and causing injury under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the Metropolitan Police said.
Hindley has been bailed to appear before the same court on February 13 for sentencing.
Communication Workers Union general secretary Billy Hayes said: "How many more attacks will take place before the Government acts?
"Unless legislation and enforcement is toughened up, our streets and public parks are not safe from the menace of dangerous dogs and there will be more attacks.
"We desperately need new dog laws to prevent attacks, promote responsible dog ownership and hold owners of dangerous dogs to account when attacks take place. Thousands of dog attack victims are currently not protected by the law, including many of our members who have to work on private property to deliver the mail or install broadband lines."
The union has been campaigning for new dangerous dogs laws in the UK since 2008 when postman Paul Coleman was nearly killed by a vicious dog attack in Sheffield.
Around 6,000 postal workers are attacked every year, with two incidents reported last week in Finchley, north London and Norwich.
David Urpeth, partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell and legal expert in dog attacks, said: "Incidents like the one in Chingford undoubtedly highlight once again why the Government needs to consider improving regulations in relation to dog ownership.
"The introduction of both compulsory insurance and licences for dog owners could offer huge advantages when it comes to identifying dogs and their owners, as well as provide vital support to ensure victims of attacks can gain justice over the terrible injuries they have suffered.
"Through our work acting for those injured by dogs, we've seen how people of all ages can be seriously affected by incidents and often need long-term care and support to overcome their physical and emotional impact.
"While the huge majority of dog owners are responsible and considerate, it is vital that measures are in place to ensure that those who fail to act in such a manner can be held to account."