Investigation launched after dog kills boy aged 4

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The Independent Online

Police have admitted receiving a report that dogs were being bred at the house where a four-year-old boy was mauled to death yesterday.

John Paul Massey suffered fatal injuries when he was savaged by a pitbull type dog at the property in Liverpool just after midnight. His grandmother, Helen Foulkes, 63, was injured while trying to save the child and has been treated in hospital.

Mrs Foulkes, 63, who suffered bites to her legs and body, has since been discharged from hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Merseyside Police tonight said an investigation is under way into the ownership of the dog and whether it was an illegal breed. The force also revealed a complaint was made by a city housing officer last February about dog breeding at the home in Ash Grove, Wavertree. But a police call centre operator told the caller it was "not a police matter" and the complaint was never followed up.

Chief Superintendent Steve Ashton, area commander for South Liverpool, said the response was "incorrect" and a separate investigation will take place to find out why specialist "dangerous dog squad" officers did not visit the house.

Mr Ashton said: "We didn't respond. The operator decided it was not a police matter, which was incorrect. Had the correct procedures been followed a qualified officer would have gone to the house and looked into the matter."