Two-year-old in hospital after dog attack

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The Independent Online

A two-year-old boy was being treated in hospital for facial injuries today after being mauled by his family's pet dog.

The toddler was attacked by the animal, a Japanese Akita, in Hailsham, East Sussex, last night.

The boy was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton after the incident at his family home at around 8.15pm.

He is undergoing treatment for facial injuries, which are not considered life-threatening.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said the Japanese Akita, which is not a banned breed, was destroyed last night with the consent of the child's parents.

Inspector Tony Wakefield, of Wealden neighbourhood policing team, said: "Although this was clearly a traumatic incident for the child and his family, this appears to be an isolated incident which occurred within the family home.

"The family voluntarily agreed for the dog, which had not previously shown any aggression towards the family or the public, to be destroyed immediately."

Police have not released further details of where the family live and said the boy's family have requested to be left alone by the media to concentrate on the health of their son.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokeswoman confirmed it sent an ambulance to the scene last night and the child was taken to hospital under blue lights.

Steve Goody, director of external affairs at animal charity The Blue Cross, called for the Government to change its legislation on dangerous dogs in the light of the attack.

He said: "This tragic incident is yet more evidence that dangerous dogs legislation is not working.

"While we don't know the full circumstances of this case, this dog was not a banned breed and an attack on private property is not covered by current laws.

"The Government must seize this opportunity to scrap the Dangerous Dogs Act and replace it with a law that properly protects the public."