Pit bull killed boy, 7

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The Independent Online
A seven-year-old boy was savaged to death by a pit- bull terrier, an inquest was told yesterday.

Dean Parker was attacked by the four-stone dog last November as he played in a school field in Middlesbrough, Cleveland. It knocked the boy down and mauled him, the inquest in Middlesborough was told.

Dean was bitten in the neck, head, back and arms as he screamed and fought to scare it off. But the pit-bull terrier became angrier; it bit through Dean's jugular vain and he died from neck injuries.

The dog broke free from its lead as it was being walked by Craig Sandland, 10, and his brother, Chris, 7. Their father, Paul, a security guard, was looking after the dog while its owners were on holiday.

Witnesses said that Dean had done nothing to anger the dog, it just flew into a frenzy. Alison Robson, an animal expert, said the dog had some features of a mastiff but was largely pit-bull. She said: 'It would be unwilling to let go unless the child stopped screaming and trying to frighten it off. It would simply keep going because of its nature.'

The coroner, Michael Sheffield, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: 'This is a tragic case and underlines the importance of the Dangerous Dogs Act and why it was established.'

Dean's father, Steven McBride, 29, said that he was 'disappointed' by the outcome. 'I understand no other verdict could have been reached on the evidence before the coroner. But this dog was well known on the estate as being very dangerous before it attacked Dean.'

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