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
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape