Second dog attack prompts call for new law

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A 14-month-old boy had emergency surgery after being attacked by a rottweiler yesterday.

The child, named Harvey, was saved by a neighbour in the town of Middleton-on-Sea in West Sussex, who hit the dog with a hammer. The boy suffered bites to his face, neck and hands but his injuries were said to be not life-threatening.

Mike Pepper, 66, said that the boy was being looked after by his grandmother and her partner, who owns the animal. He said he heard the screams of the grandmother while he was working outside yesterday morning and he hit the dog with a hammer in an attempt to subdue it. Police seized the dog and after interviewing the owner, it was agreed that the rottweiler should be destroyed.

The attack comes three days after a five-month-old baby was mauled to death by two rottweilers in Leicester. Cadey-Lee Deacon was attacked in the living quarters of a pub in the New Parks area of the city.

Vets say tougher laws may be needed to protect young children from dog attacks. Chris Lawrence, veterinary director of the Dogs Trust, said investigators should be examining "why these dogs behave like this and why the training of the dogs is inadequate."