Friday, November 26, 2010

Toddler mauled to death by uncle's pet bulldog 'did not stand a chance'

Fatal attack: the dog which mauled the 18-month-old toddler was an American bulldog (file photo)

A mother screamed in terror as her 18-month-old daughter was ripped apart by the family dog, an inquest has heard.

Zumer Ahmed was attacked at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex, by her uncle's pet dog, Game.

The American Bulldog burst into the kitchen when Zumer's two-year-old brother opened the back door to the garden and bit her head, the inquest at Horsham Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Speaking at the inquest, West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield questioned whether American Bulldogs should be kept by families with young children.

Zumer Ahmed sustained horrific injuries after being set upon by the animal on April 17.

She was in the kitchen when the pet - six times her weight - entered the house from the back garden and started attacking her.

Two workmen nearby were alerted and tried in vain to rescue Zumer from its jaws but her injuries were too severe for her to survive.

Ms Schofield said that very little mention is made of the potential threat such dogs pose to young children.

She accepted she may face criticism from dog lovers and organisations for raising doubts over whether they should be kept in a young family environment.

But she said the case highlighted a 'real risk' to young children and that the death had left those close to Zumer 'completely and utterly devastated'.

'The little girl did not stand a chance,' Ms Schofield said at the inquest at Horsham Magistrates' Court.

'The dog was six times her weight and was acting instinctively. The dog, an American Bulldog, does not come under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Danger: the house where the attack happened had this sign making reference to the dog owner

'And even today the American and English Bulldog are listed on the internet as suitable for family pets. Very little is mentioned, if anything, to the potential threat to children.

'But this case shows that there is a real risk to young children and that this case is not uncommon.

'Many dog lovers and organisations will be critical of me to question whether it is safe for children to live in close proximity to these dogs.

'However, one function of my role is around prevention of future deaths.'

Ms Schofield said she could not make any recommendations under the coroner's rules as owning such dogs remained a 'personal choice'.

'However, I'm aware that this case has attracted a lot of publicity and I therefore hope that the press will highlight this case and the danger of keeping such dogs in a family environment with young children,' she went on.

source: dailymail

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