Boy dies after pet rottweiler attack

LONDON Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:03pm GMT

Police handout picture of Archie-Lee Andrew Hirst, who died after he was attacked by a family Rottweiler in Wakefield on Friday. REUTERS/Handout

Police handout picture of Archie-Lee Andrew Hirst, who died after he was attacked by a family Rottweiler in Wakefield on Friday.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

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LONDON (Reuters) - A one-year-old boy has died in hospital after being attacked by a rottweiler in the yard of his grandparents' home, West Yorkshire Police said.

The dog, a family pet, snatched the boy from the arms of a seven-year-old girl who was carrying him at the house in Wakefield on Friday afternoon.

The girl had gone to the kitchen door to stroke the animal, which was kept in the yard outside. When the door was opened, the dog grabbed the boy.

The boy, Archie-Lee Andrew Hirst, suffered serious injuries and was taken to Pinderfields General Infirmary but died later in the evening.

Armed police officers destroyed the dog, a two-and-a-half year-old female, at the scene.

The family had owned the dog for about six months and it had not previously shown any signs of aggression, police said.

The boy had been staying with his grandparents since Christmas Day and was due to return to his parents over New Year.

At the time of the attack, the boy was being looked after by his 16-year-old aunt, together with the seven-year-old girl and another girl, aged six.

The aunt, who had been upstairs, was unable to rescue her nephew, despite striking the dog, and called emergency services, who found the boy lying seriously injured in the yard.

Detective Superintendent Steve Payne said the family were devastated and were being offered counselling.

"This wasn't expected, it's nobody's fault," he told reporters.

He said the boy's mother was aged 17 or 18, and that she and the boy's father were comforting each other.

The attack came almost a year after five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson was mauled to death by a family pit-bull terrier at her grandmother's house on January 1.

Her uncle Kiel Simpson was jailed for eight weeks for owning a banned breed of dog.

Rottweilers are not banned by the Dangerous Dogs Act, but the legislation covers any dog out of control in a public place.

(Reporting by Tim Castle)

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