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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
License dog owners, says MP
Nicki Hughes
Nicki Hughes may need skin grafts
There are calls for pet owners to be licensed following a spate of attacks on children by dangerous dogs.

On Sunday, Nicki Hughes, 10, became the second girl to be attacked in Wolverhampton in less than a fortnight, when she was bitten by a rottweiler outside her home in Hilton street, Park Village.

On 16 May Leah Preston, 5, nearly died after being attacked in her garden in Woverhampton by two bull mastiff cross-breeds.

Robust dogs

And on Monday night a six-year-old boy suffered serious face and neck injuries when he was savaged by a Japanese akita dog in a pub car park in the Shiregreen area of Sheffield.

Woverhampton North East MP Ken Purchase has now said he wants dog owners licensed so a check can be made on their suitability to keep dangerous animals.

Mr Purchase told BBC Radio WM: "My preference, frankly, would be to license owners.

"There could be some check made of the suitability of people to keep these larger breeds of sometimes very robust dogs that we see."

South Yorkshire Police have said the akita dog had to be pulled off the six-year-old boy, who had gone to stoke it while it was tethered.

The scene near to where the attack took place
Nicki was attacked near her home

The boy needed emergency surgery at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Nicki Hughes was attacked in Wolverhampton after a rottweiler initially licked her as she played hide-and-seek with a friend.

Nicki said: "The dog got vicious and started biting me everywhere.

"It ripped my hair out."

Her father, Alan, said Nicki's friend, Rosanna Haughton, 13, saved his daughter.

'Deep holes'

"From what the girls tell me the owner just panicked," he said.

"The dog tried to get to her throat and it was Rosanna's brave actions that stopped it."

Mr Hughes described the bites on his daughter's head and arms as "large, deep holes".

Meanwhile, Leah Preston is in the Diana, Princess of Wales Children's Hospital in Birmingham after having extensive skin grafts.

She was mauled while playing in the front garden of her home at Hawksford Crescent, Low Hill, Wolverhampton, after two dogs escaped from a cage at the adjacent property.

All the animals concerned have been destroyed.


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27 May 02 | England
23 May 02 | England
21 May 02 | England
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