Dog owners are being urged to keep all pets on leads in public places following a third attack on a child in as many months in south east Northumberland.
Police in Ashington say dogs must not be dangerously out of control in a public or private place or the owner risks a court appearance and seeing their pet destroyed.
The warning comes after six-year-old Ellie Hall suffered horrific injuries after being attacked by two American pit bull dogs near her home in Ashington on Sunday.
Back in March, Natalie Steel’s 20-month-old son Rod-Jo Aikin was left scarred for life when a stray Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross bit his face as he played outside their Tweed Street home in Ashington.
And last week, the News Post Leader reported how Lianne Lucas’ daughter Grace was injured when a Japanese Akita bit her face, causing her to lose part of her bottom lip and two teeth in a home in Ashington.
And now six-year-old Ellie, also from Ashington, is in hospital after she was attacked in the back lane to her home by two American bulldogs on Sunday.
The youngster had part of her ear ripped off and lost a chunk of her arm as a result of the attack.
The dogs have consequently been destroyed.
Ashington neighbourhood Inspector Dave Harris said: “We encourage every dog owner to be a responsible owner. Anyone who owns a dog or is in charge of a dog must ensure they are responsible for it at all times.
“We take all reports of dangerous dogs or incidents involving dog bite injuries seriously and on the whole the majority of dog owners in the area are responsible dog owners.
“It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control in a public place, or in a private place where the dog does not live. The law applies to all dogs.
“A dog is considered dangerously out of control if it injures someone or puts someone in fear of being injured.
“A court could also decide that a dog is dangerously out of control if it injures someone’s animal, or the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop a dog attacking their animal.
“The best advice that can be given is to take efforts to keep a dog on a lead where possible in a public place.”