Police are hunting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier which viciously mauled a nine-year-old boy in the face.
The boy needed surgery after his lip was torn during the attack in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on April 20.
The unnamed youngster was walking close to a school at around 5.45pm, when he was pounced on by the hound whose owner failed to bring it under control.
Staffordshire Police have now released photographs of his injuries in an appeal to track down the woman spotted with the animal.
The nine-year-old boy need needed surgery after his lip was torn by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in Stoke-on-Trent on April 20
A force spokesman said: ‘Officers are appealing for information after a nine-year-old boy was bitten by a dog in Stoke-on-Trent.
‘At approximately 5:45pm on Wednesday 20 April, a boy was bitten on the face by a dog on Belgrave Road, Dresden, at the rear of Belgrave St. Bartholomew’s Academy.
‘He suffered facial injuries and was transported to hospital for treatment.
‘Police are conducting enquiries locally and would like to speak to the owner of a large brown/ginger coloured Staffordshire Bull Terrier.’
The owner of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier – a breed which is not banned by the Dangerous Dogs Act – is described as being a white woman, around 5ft 6in tall, aged late 30s to early 40s and of a slim build with light brown shoulder length hair.
She was wearing sunglasses on her head at the time of the incident.
The boy was walking in this street (pictured) behind a school in Stoke-on-Trent when he was viciously attacked by the dog
She was with a man who is described as white, roughly 6ft tall, in his 40s, of medium build with grey crewcut hair and a full grey beard.
He was wearing slim blue jeans and a black polo with blue and red lines on the collar.
The UK is in the midst of a dog mauling epidemic, say experts, with a sharp rise in fatal cases.
Two-year-old Lawson Bond was mauled to death by his family’s three rottweilers – nicknamed ‘the beasts’ by locals – at home in the village of Egdon, Worcestershire, on March 28 and died in hospital two days later.
Earlier in March, an eight-year-old boy was rushed to hospital after being bitten on the face by a dog in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, while a girl and a woman were also injured.
Anyone with information about the attack in Stoke-on-Trent is advised to contact Staffordshire Police on 101, or the force’s Facebook or Twitter profiles, quoting incident 679 of April 20.
What is the Dangerous Dogs Act?
WHAT IS THE DANGEROUS DOGS ACT?
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans or restricts certain types of dogs and makes it an offence to allow a dog of any breed to be dangerously out of control.
It was introduced 30 years ago by Home Secretary Kenneth Baker ‘to rid the country of the menace of these fighting dogs’ after a string of attacks.
WHICH DOGS ARE BANNED IN THE UK?
It is illegal to own four breeds of dogs without an exemption from a court. They are:
The law also criminalises cross-breeds of the above four types of dog – meaning that whether a dog is prohibited will depend on a judgement about its physical characteristics, and whether they match the description of a prohibited ‘type’.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers look similar to Pitbull Terriers, but they’re legal and common pets.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE’S A DOG ATTACK?
You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months if your dog is dangerously out of control.
You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.
If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to five years or fined. If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.
And if you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine.
WHY IS THE ACT CONTROVERSIAL?
Both the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the British Veterinary Association have protested against the ban, insisting there is no scientific evidence that all individuals of a breed are dangerous.
However, Met Police data suggests that in incidents involving ‘dangerously out of control dogs’, banned breeds account for about a fifth of offences.