Dangerous Dogs Act: No additions to banned dog list

Lexi Branson was fatally mauled in her family's home. Picture: PA
Lexi Branson was fatally mauled in her family's home. Picture: PA
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THE government will not consider broadening the list of dogs banned in the Dangerous Dogs Act, after legal dogs claimed their third victim in a year.

Lexi Branson was mauled to death despite the desperate attempts of her mother, Jodie Hudson, to halt the attack by stabbing the dog at their flat in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire.

Police yesterday confirmed the animal was a bulldog, which is not a breed banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Lexi’s death comes after 14-year-old Jade Anderson was mauled by four dogs, one of which was described as a “mastiff-type” breed by police, while visiting a friend in Wigan in March. A bull mastiff-cross fatally mauled 79-year-old Clifford Clarke in May. The retired hospital porter suffered fatal injuries after being bitten by a dog that got into his garden from a neighbouring house.

The act, introduced in 1991 following a spate of serious attacks, specifically outlaws only the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro breeds. The latter two breeds are mastiffs of Brazilian and Argentinian descent, but larger French iterations and bull-crosses have thus far been permitted.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), speaking in response to yesterday’s attack, said there were “no plans to change the list of banned breeds” despite other reforms being considered by parliament.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced last week that people responsible for dangerous dogs involved in fatal attacks could face up to 14 years in prison and unlimited fines. However, police said they were not treating Lexi’s death as a criminal investigation.

The measures are contained within a draft bill that is expected to become law next year, but Defra said changes to the banned list would not be considered.

The 1991 act has been regularly criticised as ineffective and too narrow. A report by the Commons environment, food and rural affairs select committee in February said the law had “comprehensively failed to tackle irresponsible ownership”, adding that the ban on mastiffs may need to be broadened.

Angela McGlynn, mother of four-year-old John-Paul Massey, who died in Liverpool in November 2009 after he was savaged by his uncle’s mastiff cross, said Lexi’s death raised the need for tougher controls.

“It brings everything back,” she told ITV Daybreak. “I would like to send out my sincere sympathies to Lexi’s family because I know exactly what they are going through.”

She renewed her calls for all dogs to be muzzled around children under 12.


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