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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 09:37 GMT
Child safety promoted at Crufts
About 24,000 dogs from across the world are expected to attend
Child safety will be a major theme of the annual Crufts dog show, which is taking place at the NEC in Birmingham.

The Kennel Club hopes to educate children about staying safe around dogs following several high-profile attacks on youngsters earlier in the year.

Secretary Caroline Kisko said the Safe and Sound scheme began in 2001, but it had decided to raise its profile.

About 140,000 visitors and 24,000 dogs are expected to attend the self-styled "greatest dogs show in the world".

The issue of dangerous dogs was in the news in January when five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson was found bleeding to death in a house in St Helens, Merseyside.

We want people to make sure their children have been taught how to behave around dogs, and how to stay safe
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary

The family pit bull terrier was later destroyed.

Police across the country later seized a number of animals deamed illegal under by the Dangerous Dogs Act.

"The Safe and Sound Scheme has been around for a while, but we are making more of it this year because child safety with dogs has become more of a topical issue," Ms Kisko said.

"We want people to make sure their children have been taught how to behave around dogs, and how to stay safe."

The main focus of the scheme is a game on the Kennel Club website, where the child is awarded stars or bite-marks according to how well they do.

"In one scenario, the dog is sitting on the sofa, and you want to sit there.

"You are given the options of (a) pulling the dog onto the floor, (b) going and getting Mum, or (c) sitting on the floor," she added.

"The correct response is to go and get mum, so you would get stars for that."

Crufts runs until Sunday.

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