“How many times do we have to go over this; it’s the bloody owners that give this breed a bad rap! Irresponsible owner’s are one of the major causes for all the problems the breed faces today. Pitbulls have long been selectively bred, over the years to be fighting machines, they are sturdy & strong with a powerful bite force; genetics & training play an important role in how the dog will respond to other dogs or humans. Pitbulls are not inherently aggressive to people; unless taught to be!
Some owners (Perhaps the boyfriend) just want a pitbull to use as a power status or for intimidating others; which is just an accident waiting to happen; and it did! This tragedy could have been avoided had the owner been a responsible one & kept the dog under control; instead of it being allowed to roam freely around the house, whilst they watched TV? The mother must have been aware of the dogs temperamentt; why didn’t she insist the dog be put in a crate or a locked room; whenever the baby was around? No dog should be left unattended with children; especially babies! The owner would have known, without doubt, what his dog was capable of doing; for that reason, I think they should both be held responsible for this terrible tragedy! R.I.P little one x
By JAYA NARAIN and ROSIE TAYLOR and JAMES TOZER –PUBLISHED: 07:10, 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:09, 12 February 2014
- 11-month-old Ava-Jayne Corless attacked by pet late last night
- Neighbours report seeing ‘vicious and terrifying’ pit bull type dog
- Victim’s mother and stepfather arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and bailed this morning
- Baby’s father pays tribute to ‘the most beautiful and adorable little girl’
- Lancashire Police say dog involved in the attack was a banned breed
A baby girl was mauled to death by a dog that neighbours had allegedly warned was dangerous.
Ava-Jayne Corless, who was just 11 months old, suffered horrific injuries when the American pitbull terrier attacked her while she slept.
Her mother, Chloe King, 20, and boyfriend Lee Wright, 26, heard the commotion and rushed upstairs to rescue her from the jaws of the beast.
Paramedics were called and took Ava-Jayne to hospital where doctors were unable to save her life.
Victim: Ava-Jayne Corless, aged 11 months, has been mauled to death by a pet dog
Miss King and Mr Wright were questioned on suspicion of manslaughter and child neglect, and were today released on bail.
Lancashire Police said: ‘The two people arrested in connection with the death of Ava-Jayne Corless at Blackburn have both been released on bail pending further inquiries.’
Parents: Ava-Jayne pictured with her father Dean and mother Chloe, who are no longer together
A police spokesman said last night that the animal was banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.
Senior officers have launched an investigation into reports that neighbours had called Lancashire Constabulary to complain about dangerous animals at the property in Blackburn.
Faisal Shahzad, 35, fled after two dogs broke through his garden fence. ‘I had to run quickly into the house and barricade the door because they were tearing after me,’ said the taxi driver.
‘I’ve got three children and they were all in the house absolutely terrified. The two dogs were scary. I called the police and they said something would be done and my neighbour also called the RSPCA.’
Another neighbour, 80-year-old Brian Harrison, said: ‘That dog was a nightmare for neighbours and people were worried about approaching it.
‘It’s an absolute tragedy that should never have happened. ‘Only last year it mauled to death a neighbour’s cat and nothing was done about it.’
Kyle Perry, 19, was chased down the street by the dog. ‘It was a big dog and it used to just bark and bark,’ he said. ‘I have been chased by it down the street. It was terrifying.’
Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: ‘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?’
The incident happened at around 11pm on Monday while Miss King was visiting Mr Wright at his home 40 yards from hers.
The pair are understood to have put the baby to sleep in a bedroom and were watching television downstairs when they heard the attack begin. By the time they reached Ava-Jayne she had suffered catastrophic injuries. The dog was destroyed.
Chief Superintendent Chris Bithell said previous contact with neighbours would form part of the police investigation.
Last night, police said the dog had been identified by experts as a pitbull.
Owners cannot be prosecuted for dog attacks on private property until new legislation comes into force this spring.
Arrest: The victim’s stepfather Lee Wright is being questioned by police on suspicion of manslaughter
Tougher sentences will be introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.
Rachel Cunningham, of the Blue Cross animal charity, said: ‘We can only hope the Government’s planned changes to the bill will allow authorities to step in at the first sign of a dangerous dog and help prevent terrible events like this.’
Jennie Rudd, of animal welfare campaign group Naturewatch Foundation, said dog attacks were caused by irresponsible owners.
Danger: The dog was described as a ‘menace’ before the attack and previously killed a neighbour’s cat
She added: ‘If it has aggressive tendencies it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure it never gets near a child, and that it isn’t forced into situations where it feels it has to attack – because there is always a reason for a dog to bite.’
Last night Ava-Jayne’s father, Dean Corless, 24, said he was devastated by the tragedy: ‘I rushed to the hospital to see her straight away.
‘She was the most beautiful and adorable little girl, she was just the best. She was my whole world. Her mum and I aren’t together any more, but I saw Ava-Jayne all the time. I will miss her every single day, I just don’t know what to do now.
‘It is just so tragic. I have my family around me now, but we are all devastated.’ The RSPCA confirmed the charity had been contacted after a dog at the address killed a neighbour’s cat. The death was treated as an accident with no action taken.