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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Burglars hit dog attack girl's home
Leah Preston
Leah Preston, 5, has undergone two operations
Burglars ransacked the home of a five-year-old dog attack victim while her family were at her hospital bedside.

Leah Preston was mauled by two bull mastiff cross breeds on Thursday and is still recovering in hospital following two operations.

West Midlands Police confirmed that her family home was targeted by thieves, who are said to have all but cleared it of their possessions.

The dog attack itself happened just five days after Leah's mother Diane Reynolds, 28, moved her family into the Wolverhampton home.


I don't use the word "despicable" often but that is how I would describe this act

Det Ch Insp Kevin Bullas
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Bullas said thieves took a video, television and digital satellite set-top box after breaking into the house between Friday night and Saturday morning while the family of five-year-old Leah Preston was at her bedside.

He said: "I don't use the word 'despicable' often but that is how I would describe this act.

"I have not spoken to the family personally, but I am sure they are more concerned with the health of Leah.

Canine advice

"This is a close-knit community and people will know who is responsible for the burglary and I want to ask the community to give us the names of the people who did it.

"We would urge anyone who is offered electrical items for sale in suspicious circumstances not to buy these items but to contact the police."

Mr Bullas said it was too early to say whether the owner of the dogs which attacked Leah would be prosecuted, but inquiries were continuing and officers were seeking advice from experts in the canine world.

He was unable to say when the crime took place.

Leah is being cared for at Birmingham Children's Hospital, which said she is doing well following her ordeal.

On Saturday she underwent a second exploratory operation on bite wounds to her legs, arms and scalp.

A spokeswoman said: "She was fine overnight and she is in a stable condition.

Destroyed

The dogs, named Gina and Kaiser, are thought to have attacked Leah after escaping from a metal cage in the garden of the house next door.

Owner Jean Harvey was also attacked when she used her body as a shield to protect Leah.

Ms Harvey's two children, Liam, five, and Lauren, three, were also attacked.

Officers wearing bullet-proof vests were called to the houses and the dogs were destroyed after being captured by vets.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Colin Patterson
"Leah... has undergone two exploratory operations"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

12 Apr 02 | Scotland
02 Jun 00 | Europe
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