Parents call for law change after son is left scarred by dog in Gosport

INJURED Lewis Witham who was attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier
INJURED Lewis Witham who was attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier
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ANGRY parents of a boy who was mauled by a Staffordshire bull terrier have called for a change in the law to deal with dangerous dogs.

Lewis Witham, 11, was at a friend’s house in Gosport when the animal suddenly leapt at him.

INJURED Lewis Witham who was attacked by a staffordshire bull terrier Picture: Paul Jacobs (123062-1)

INJURED Lewis Witham who was attacked by a staffordshire bull terrier Picture: Paul Jacobs (123062-1)

He fought alone with the dog and eventually managed to prise his arm free.

But the dog had left more than a dozen deep wounds in his arm.

Now his parents are calling for other dog owners to be vigilant about leaving children alone with dogs.

And they have also hit out at the law which says only attacks on public land can be dealt with by the police.

Lewis said: ‘Its teeth were in my skin and it was ripping my skin.

‘I managed to get it in a headlock.

‘I didn’t feel any pain at the time, not until after.

‘I just want to go back to school now.’

Lewis was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham after the dog attack, which happened on September 9.

He later had to spend three days in hospital undergoing operations on his arm.

Doctors are keeping an eye out for any infections, and he may have to have a skin graft.

Lewis’ mum Andrea, 40, of Seahorse Walk in Gosport, said: ‘The law has got to be changed.

‘I just want people to be vigilant with these dogs around children.

‘We want to raise awareness for anyone leaving their kids alone with these types of dogs.

‘We know they’re not all the same – we had dogs of our own. But Lewis now has to live with these scars for the rest of his life.’

Lewis was two days into his first year at Bay House School when the attack happened.

His dad Mark, 45, said: ‘The law has got to be changed to protect children.

‘If we can stop one child from being maimed than that has got to be good thing.

‘There’s nothing worse than hearing your child screaming in pain and knowing there is nothing you can do and that it was preventable.’

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said a dog warden deemed the attack a one-off incident.

She said: ‘It’s an unfortunate incident but it’s not a crime. Police contacted the local dog warden and discussed a visit to the owner to assess behaviour, but it has been deemed a one-off incident by the dog warden.

‘The owner already identified the risk by telling their son not to take friends home.’

MP backs family’s calls for tougher dog laws

GOSPORT’S MP Caroline Dinenage has backed the calls for a change in the law on dangerous dogs.

Earlier this year the government announced it planned to extend the Dangerous Dogs Act to include attacks on private property.

The announcement came after figures showed around 210,000 people are attacked by dogs in England each year.

Around 4,000 of them were postal workers on their mail rounds.

Ms Dinenage said she would speak to the relevant minister in the House of Commons on behalf of Lewis’ family.

She said: ‘The Dangerous Dogs Act certainly needs reviewing and people need to take steps to look after their dogs.

‘When they bite once you never know whether they’re going to strike again.

‘It certainly is a loophole and we hear far too often about awful incidents like this happening.

‘It’s fortunate it wasn’t more serious in this case.’

There have been five fatal dog attacks in homes since 2007, four of which were on children.

Hospital admissions for serious dog bites have more than doubled over the past decade.

The maximum penalty under dangerous dog laws is a £5,000 fine or two years imprisonment.