UK
03/09/2013 08:17 BST

North West Britain A 'Dangerous Dogs Hotspot'

The north west of England is a dangerous dogs hotspot, according to new figures.

New data has shown that one in every six hospital admissions for dog bites or attacks occurs in the north west.

The statistics, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), show there were 6,334 hospital admissions overall for dog bites or attacks in England, a fall of 1.9% on the previous year.

But while the overall number of hospital admissions relating to injuries from dogs has fallen, the north west accounted for 17.4% of all admissions for dog bites or attacks in the 12 months to May – the equivalent of 1,099 admissions.

Contrastingly, the south east coast area had the lowest number of admissions, with just 229 being admitted for god-related injuries.

Sixteen people have been killed by dangerous dogs since 2005, including 14-year-old Jade Anderson who 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 near Wigan, Greater Manchester, in March.

Today's data shows dog bites or strikes were most common in young children, with one in six of all hospital admissions for children aged nine or under (17.1% of admissions or 1,080).

Last month it emerged owners of killer dogs could face life in prison under new proposals if an online petition garners enough public support.

The proposals followed the parents of Jade Anderson and of four-year-old John Paul Massey, who died after his uncle's pitbull attacked him in 2009, handing in a petition at 10 Downing Street calling for the Prime Minister to take action to prevent more attacks.

Currently, the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act only allows for prosecutions of attacks by dogs in public spaces and private areas where the dogs are prohibited from, such as a neighbours garden.