Mother of 11-month-old girl mauled to death by 'American pit bull-type' dog arrested

The baby was attacked by an an "American pitbull-type" dog, police said

The mother of an 11-month-old girl who was mauled to death by an American pit bull-type dog has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter along with her partner.

Police described the “horrific” scene after being called to the house in Blackburn, Lancashire where paramedics battled to save Ava Jayne Marie Corless who later died from her injuries in hospital.

She is the 17th person to die in a dog attack in the UK since 2005. Neighbours said they had made previous complaints about an aggressive animal in the street.

The pit bull is one of the only breeds currently banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. New legislation designed to curb aggressive dogs is set to become law later this spring.

Police said the child was upstairs in bed when she was savaged. Her mother Chloe King and partner Lee Wright were downstairs when the attack happened.

Chief Superintendent Chris Bithell of Lancashire Police said: “This is an absolutely horrific incident in which a baby girl has lost her life and I would like to take this opportunity to express my own personal sympathy to the wider family of baby Ava.”

He said the animal had been destroyed and tests were being carried out to establish the exact breed of the animal.

The child’s father Dean Corless, who was separated from Ms King, said he was devastated by the tragedy. His family described her as “like a china doll … a lively baby and always happy.”

A post mortem examination is due to take place.

The couple were initially arrested on suspicion of neglect although they were later rearrested on the more serious charge of manslaughter.

Blackburn MP, the former Home Secretary Jack Straw, said families needed to be alert to the dangers of such animals. “What will it take to convince people not to keep dogs like this - and to get across to all dog-owners, of every breed of dog, that no dog should ever be left unsupervised with a baby?”

Postal workers union the CWU, which has campaigned against dangerous dogs, said: “Dog control laws in England and Wales are rightly being strengthened later this year. Current arrangements are simply not good enough and the punishments do not fit the crimes.”

What about the law?

Local authorities and police are to be given greater powers to intervene to prevent attacks and jail irresponsible dog owners in the wake of continuing toll of deaths and serious injuries.

At present only the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. But concern over the safety of some breeds – particularly bull mastiffs - has risen sharply in recent months following the death of 14-year-old Jade Anderson in Wigan last March who was mauled by four dogs.

Owners of dangerous dogs could face up to 14 years in prison and unlimited fines. New laws included in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill 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”. 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.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits