Police in Liverpool have arrested a 31-year-old man after dogs belonging to him attacked and tragically killed a 63-year-old woman, on Monday 3 October. Officers had been called to a property in the Kirkdale area of the city, after neighbours had initially rang for the North West Ambulance Service, when hearing screams shortly before 4.30pm, in a house on St Brigids Crescent, where a Merseyside force spokesperson confirmed that a female had been found to have been mauled to death at the scene, by at least two dogs.
The next of kin of the woman, as yet not formally identified, were informed and were being comforted by specially trained officers. A post-mortem will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.
Dogs siezed and destroyed
Detective Inspector Katie Coote urged anyone with information to assist with their enquiries, before saying: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who has sadly died.” It was confirmed by the police that five American Bulldogs were inside the property on their arrival, and these had been handed over, removed from the scene, and under the circumstances, had been humanely destroyed.
Cordon in place at the property
More than a dozen police cars, three ambulance vehicles and a fire engine took over nearby streets and a cordon was put in place, whilst forensics officers arrived to try any gather evidence from the scene to attempt to establish what could have triggered such a tragic incident; but clearly at least one of the dogs was dangerously out of control.
Shock and sadness in the community
Eyewitnesses reported that from the commotion that they heard, it sounded as if at least two of the animals were involved in the mauling. All have said how shocked and saddened they are at the awful outcome of this alarming incident, recognising how distressing and devastating it must be for the family of the lady.
Despite the stricken women’s name not yet being released, word had naturally got around the neighbourhood and tributes had begun to pour in, all expressing their shock and offering thoughts to the close friends and relatives.
American Bulldogs are immensely powerful
Historically, the American Bulldogs were bred to be a utility dog for use on farmland. They are a descendant of the English Bulldog, and they were originally known by many different names, particularly the White English Southern Bulldog. They are a well-balanced powerfully athletic dog, that has great strength, endurance, agility, but also normally a friendly disposition.
However, with great strength comes potential danger, especially if not properly trained and/or socialised from an early age. They can be aggressive at times, especially if they feel threatened, or when being overly protective.
Probably acted out of character
It is too early in this case to determine how things got so shockingly out of control. It could have been just one of the dogs, who may have been acting out of character possibly due to a health issue, or it simply got spooked by something, and their behaviour somehow triggered a response from at least one of the others.
Sadly it could be that several of the dogs have had to be put to sleep without actually doing anything wrong, but safety would always overtake everything else. Speculation is natural and to be expected, but the full details and conclusions are not likely for some time.
Powerful jaws and aggressive tendencies
The breed is one of high-energy, and with that there is a liklihood of becoming easily agitated. They also have an incredibly strong jaw, more than capable of crushing bones, meaning that their bite can inflict serious damage. They are known for their loyalty and protective nature, so although they usually make perfectly fine family pets, their aggressive streak is inbred, so always a danger lurking and as such, should always be approached with a level of caution.
Multiple dog attacks in 2022
This tragic incident is yet another in a long line of dog attacks that have been a common theme across the UK in 2022:
In January, another American Bulldog had to be put down after armed police and a force helicopter were called to reports of the pet attacking its owner in an area of Exeter, Devon. It had also attacked another family pet before escaping from the property. Considered a danger to the public the decision was made to humanely take the dogs life.
Tragically, a 17 month old toddler was attacked and killed in March, after an American Bully XL dog pounced on little Bella-Rae Birch, only one week after her family had brought it into their family home in St Helens, Merseyside.
Also in March, a two-year-old shockingly suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at an address in Worcestershire, following what must have been a terrifying attack by three rottweilers, which were removed and destroyed.
In May a three-year-old boy was on the receiving end of a devastating dog attack at a farm in Greater Manchester and sadly died of his injuries. The dog was seized and humanely destroyed. It had been involved in a previous attacking incident, several months before.
A 43-year-old woman was killed when two dogs attacked her in Rotherham, South Yorkshire in July. She was fatally bitten by an American Bully XL, police confirmed. A man, 42, suffered hand, abdomen and face injuries in the same incident, presumably trying to fend off the crazed beasts. The dogs were not banned breeds, and were euthanised following the attack.
A 44-year-old woman was arrested in Havant, Hampshire in August, after her “out of control” Dobermann dog attacked an innocent three-year-old girl, who was left with life-changing, but not life-threatening injuries. The dog was seized and destroyed.
A few days later and not far away in Fareham, Hampshire in a different attack, a 34-year-old man died after being attacked by a dog in a park. Paramedics were called but despite their very best efforts, were unable to save him. The animal’s owner, a 20-year-old local man, was arrested on suspicion of having a dangerously out-of-control dog causing injury resulting in death. The dog’s breed was not released, but it was removed and destroyed.
A brave neighbour fought off a vicious Bull Mastiff type dog that was attacking an innocent four-year-old boy who was just visiting a friends house in Liverpool in August. The man’s actions almost certainly saved the young boys life. The child did receive serious, life-changing injuries with terrible wounds to the face and head. A 33-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman was charged with being in possession of a dangerously out-of-control dog. The animal was seized for the safety of the community.
Four dogs on Dangerous Dogs list
In 1991 the government introduced the Dangerous Dogs Act, and within it there are four banned breeds.
These dogs are: The Pit Bull Terrier, which was bred with fighting in mind. The Japanese Tosa, bred specifically for blood sports in Asia. The other two illegal breeds both originate from South America, namely the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Braziliero. They were bred to hunt large animals like wild boar and puma.
The American bulldog could well find itself under scrutiny and receive calls for it to be added to that list, after this latest attack.
Loophole is a way out being used
There is a loophole in the Act, which many have utilised. People can keep these dogs if they are able to prove they are safe, guarantee they will be muzzled in public, and receive a certificate of exemption and obtain special insurance.
Of course any dog can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Indeed many experts often say there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. I doubt very much that the family of the woman tragically mauled yesterday, will be in any mood to listen to such ramblings.