BURTON’S MP has called for a change in the law to allow the owners of dogs who attack people on private land to be criminally prosecuted.
Andrew Griffiths spoke out about the problem during a parliamentary debate on dangerous dogs.
He used the example of eight-year-old Gypsy Prescott, from Stapenhill, whose ear was partially severed when her head had to be prised out of an Alsatian’s mouth earlier this year.
Despite the horrific nature of the incident, police and the RSPCA were powerless to take action against the animal’s owner as it happened on private property.
Mr Griffiths said: “I think most parents are shocked to find out — like Gypsy’s mum Sallie did — that if an incident like this happens, it is a civil matter.
“It would reassure a lot of people that if they ever had the misfortune of being involved in an attack by a dangerous dog on private land, that the person responsible could be held to account by the police.
“It is terrible that people have to go through the civil courts to get any kind of justice.
This is an issue of public safety and action needs to be taken and changes in the law need to be made.“This is an issue of public safety and action needs to be taken and changes in the law need to be made.”
Sallie Prescott, of Cornwall Road, Stapenhill, contacted the Mail about her daughter Gypsy’s injuries, after they were so serious that she had to be transferred from Burton’s Queen’s Hospital to the Royal Derby Hospital for specialist treatment.
The damage to her ear meant that she received 10 stitches and she suffered a cut close to her eye. She was also left with several cuts and bruises to her face.
After Mr Griffiths highlighted the problem in parliament, he received support from the RSPCA for his stance.
Government relations manager Claire Robinson said: “Mr Griffiths made an important point about the issue of private property and the lack of adequate protection for visitors.
“The RSPCA does not understand why the law is limited in this area and firmly believes it should be extended to cover such places.”