Lexi Branson attack: Mother stabs killer dog to death to try and save her daughter

Ministers want to give local authorities and police more power to intervene to prevent attacks and jail owners but bull and mastiff breeds won't be banned

Bull and mastiff breeds will not be banned under Government efforts to reduce the number of dog attacks in the wake of the death of a four-year-old girl who was fatally mauled by her family pet – a former stray which had previously been abandoned in a local park.

Police confirmed today that Lexi Branson was killed at her home in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire by a bulldog which is not outlawed under the controversial Dangerous Dogs Act. She is the 16 person to die in a dog attack in the UK since 2005.

However, the Government said it would not be seeking to add to the four “fighting” breeds currently banned in an amendment to the 1991 Act which is set to become law next spring. Ministers want to give local authorities and police more power to intervene to prevent attacks and jail irresponsible owners.

The child’s mother Jodi Hudson, who stabbed the former stray to death with a kitchen knife in a desperate bid to save her daughter, described her as "a bubbly, bright little girl". She said Lexi who was off sick from school when the attack happened had been three months premature and “fought for her life from the moment she was born”.

The family owed the dog for just two months and neighbours said they believed the animal was safe around children. Leicester City Council said the dog, aged between six and eight years, was captured by a warden. It was unclaimed and sent to Willow Rehoming Centre in Barrow-upon-Soar in August from where it was subsequently re-homed.

A council spokesman said: "The police are notified of any dogs suspected of being dangerous or on the list of prohibited breeds, and these are not considered for rehoming.”

The bulldog is one of Britain’s oldest breeds. First classified in the 1630s it is synonymous with the patriotic symbol John Bull. Originally used for bull-baiting and fighting in dog pits it later became a popular show dog.

Detective Superintendent David Sandall who is overseeing the investigation said Leicestershire Police were continuing to investigate the circumstances leading up to the tragedy and the history of the animal.

 “The dog is a bulldog which is not a breed listed under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act,” he said.

At present only the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro are banned. Concern over the safety of some breeds has risen sharply in recent months following the death of 14-year-old Jade Anderson in Wigan in March who was mauled by four dogs, including a "mastiff-type".

In May a retired hospital porter died after being attacked by a bull-mastiff. Ten of those that have died in the past decade are children, according to the Communication Workers Union.

Last week Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced that owners of dangerous dogs could face up to 14 years in prison and unlimited fines. New laws will also make it illegal to possess a violent dog in a private home.

The Kennel Club has backed the Government’s stance arguing it is important to target the “deed not the breed” and that it would send the wrong message that only certain types were dangerous.

Opponents of increasing the number of proscribed breeds have argued that the policy has failed in Denmark where 13 breeds were banned in 2010 with plans to outlaw a further 12.

It is claimed that dog bites on humans increased by 60 per cent in the wake of the ban with animal welfare groups suggesting up to 400,000 animals face being destroyed.

Angela McGlynn, whose four-year-old son -Paul Massey, was killed by his uncle’s dog in Liverpool in 2009 is campaigning for all animals to be muzzled around children under 12. "The Government are putting some steps in place ... but we can't just rely on the Government - parents and adults have to take steps too," she said.

Suggested Topics
News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is returning all donations made by Redditors 'in honour' of Jennifer Lawrence and her naked photos
news

Website users raised funds after Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak

News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
advertising
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York