Owners of dog which attacked Keiron can't be charged, say police
THE owners of a vicious dog that mauled two-year-old Keiron Guess cannot face prosecution under the Dangerous Dogs Act, according to police.
The family of Keiron, who remains in a critical condition in a Bristol children’s hospital, have called for action to be taken, but current legislation only allows for owners to be prosecuted if the dog is out of control in a public place or is one of four exempt breeds.
Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the injuries received by Keiron at about 6pm on Sunday, but because it took place in a neighbour’s garden they cannot apply the 1991 act.
Chief Inspector Keith Ewart, head of Response Operations in Swindon, said: “Our thoughts are with Keiron and his family at what must be a particularly traumatic time. Everyone at Wiltshire Police wishes Keiron a speedy recovery.
“We can confirm that this incident happened in a privately owned garden in Swanage Walk in the Moredon area of the town.
“Any investigation must remain within the framework of the law and, in this case, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 does not apply because the dog was on private premises at the time of the incident.
“There are proposals to change the law to include private premises – this is something that we would support. In this case the animal was voluntarily surrendered to the police and was examined and found to be a Staffordshire bull terrier. It is not illegal to own a Staffordshire bull terrier.
“However, the dog was destroyed with the full consent of the owner.
“Wiltshire Police continues to make inquiries into all aspects of this incident.”
It comes after the police admitted two officers had been bitten by two Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs, one of which is thought to have attacked Keiron, during a drugs raid in September last year.
Hero grandad Dave Guess, 49, who rescued the toddler from the jaws of the animal, said: “I think something must be done about it – they should have taken those dogs off them when they attacked the police before.”
Chief Insp Ewart said: “We can confirm that we attended the address where the incident happened in September 2011 and two dogs were subsequently examined to determine whether they were illegally bred.
“A qualified expert examined both dogs and found that they were Staffordshire bull terriers and that the owners were lawfully in possession.
“No offences were revealed in relation to these dogs.”
Source: Swindon Advertiser