Eight pit bulls seized in police raids

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Eight dangerous dogs have been seized by Merseyside Police in a series of raids across the region.

It is believed some of the dogs, which were all pit bull terriers, were being trained to participate in underground dog fights.

The raids last night follow the death of five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson, who was mauled by a type of pit bull terrier at her grandmother's home on Monday.

Six of the dogs were taken from an address in St Helens, the town where Ellie died, and two from an address in Widnes.

Inspector Ian Whitfield of Merseyside Police said that in addition to the six animals found in St Helens, police also seized a collection of protein dog food supplements.

He said that one animal had its ears trimmed back, a "common occurrence" in dogs bred for fighting.

Officers staged the raids after a tip-off from a member of the public.

Insp Whitfield said the dogs were now being held by police and inquiries were ongoing to decide whether their owners would be prosecuted.