'Look at photo of my daughter and help make dog laws tougher'
More than 100 people a WEEK are put in hospital by dog attacks – so today The Sun launches The Safer Dogs Campaign to try to cut the injury toll.
And the mum of one young victim has backed our fight and asked us to print this appalling picture of her child’s wounds to draw attention to the scourge.
Belinda Wyeth, whose five-year-old daughter Millie-Jo was savaged by a relative’s dog, says: “Look at these photos of my beautiful daughter’s face and support this valuable campaign. The laws regarding dogs need to be tightened.”
The Sun’s campaign calls on the Government to take the following steps to improve public safety:
- Make every dog’s owner accountable for its actions.
- Microchip every dog.
- Have one national registration system.
- Prevent cruelty and attacks by giving police and dog wardens power to issue warnings when people aren’t doing the right things for and with their dog.
- We are calling on our army of readers to sign our petition to make sure there are fewer attacks.
We want to stop demonising dogs, to make sure owners become more responsible for their pets and police to be more aware of banned breeds.
According to NHS figures, 5,221 victims of dog attacks were treated in hospital during 2008-09, a rise of 66 per cent in the last decade.
In Millie-Jo’s attack, a piece of flesh the size of a golf ball was ripped from her cheek and her ear almost torn off.
She spent three-and-a-half hours in surgery and her injuries were so extensive it took two surgeons to reconstruct her face, save the sight in her eye and re-attach her ear.
Belinda, 29, from Bicester, Oxon, says: “The doctor said if the bites had been any higher she would have lost her sight — and any lower and she would have lost her life.”
Millie-Jo has been left scarred for life and over the next few years will have to have more reconstructive surgery.
Belinda, a former medical secretary, and her partner Neil Baker, 30, a chef, were on a rare weekend away when they got a call from a close relative saying Millie-Jo had been “nipped” by their border collie.
The trusted relatives were looking after Millie-Jo and her 11-year-old brother Sean at their home in Oxfordshire while the couple’s two younger children were being cared for by Neil’s parents.
Belinda says: “At first I wasn’t too worried. Then the relative said paramedics were taking Millie-Jo to hospital and I started to panic.”
At the hospital Millie-Jo’s nightie was covered in blood and as a doctor peeled back the bandage covering her face, Belinda saw the full horror of what had happened.
She says: “I stood outside in total shock. It broke my heart to see her perfect little face like that.”
It was six months before Millie-Jo could remember what had happened to her that terrible day last August. She told her mum she had been trying to tuck a toy into the dog’s collar when it had gone for her.
At the time police asked Belinda and Neil if they wanted the dog put down, but because they hadn’t responded instantly he was instead taken to a rescue charity.
Belinda has since learned that, under the Dangerous Dogs Act, the animal would have to be a banned breed, or out of control in a public place, for a criminal offence to have been committed.
She continues: “The police need to be more aware of where dangerous dogs are and there needs to be more information for owners to understand how to make their dog safe. I think the Government’s microchipping plans are a step in the right direction. The same goes for bringing back dog licences.”
She adds: “We couldn’t do anything to stop Millie-Jo’s attack but I want to turn what happened into something positive.
“When she is older I want to show her we fought to have the law changed, that something good came out of what happened to her.”
Source: The Sun - Read more