Boy of 4 Killed by Vicious Dog

Four year old John Paul Massey died in Liverpool yesterday after being mauled by a dog, described by neighbours as a ‘Pitbull type’. Merseyside Police are currently attempting to establish the dog’s breed to see if it falls under the Dangerous Dogs Act, making it illegal.

The boy was at his grandmother’s home in Wavertree at the time of the incident. Helen Foulkes was also injured trying to pull the dog off her grandson. She was baby sitting him at the time, and has now been released from hospital after being attacked. The animal was shot dead by Police after being found in a highly agitated state in Ms Foulkes’ front garden. A post mortem is being carried out on the dog today.

The boy was attacked during the early hours of Monday morning. An armed response unit were sent after the 999 call was received, penning the dog in the front garden while medics attended to the boy. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The police were unable to identify the breed of dog immediately; it will require forensic examinations to determine the exact breed.

Also in the house at the time of the incident was John Paul’s 13 year old brother; he is said to be “deeply traumatised”. Support is being offered to pupils at St Clare’s RC Primary School since learning of their classmate’s death; he was at the nursery there. Friends of the family have been paying tribute to the boy, describing him as a “friendly, cheerful” boy.

Neighbours in the local area have been left shocked at the news, and have complained about dangerous dogs in the vicinity. If the dog responsible is found to be a banned breed, they may prosecute the owner. Imperial Wharf Escorts have voiced their concerns about the breeding of these animals.

There has been questions from animal psychologists over whether it was right for the police to kill the dog; it could have been used as evidence into the investigation.

Merseyside Police have been criticized for ignoring a previous complaint by a city housing officer about dangerous dogs at that address. The warning was given in February, but the caller was told that it was not a police matter by a police call centre operator. Had this complaint been followed up, this tragic death may never have happened. The Police have admitted that they were wrong to overlook this.