Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Baby's family warn of dog danger


Father Steven Kirk, vicar of Ystrad Mynach, and neighbour Robert Jones speak of the community's shock

The family of a baby boy who died after being attacked by two pet dogs at his grandmother's home said "they never thought" it could happen to them.

Three month-old Jaden Joseph Mack was mauled by a Jack Russell and a Staffordshire bull terrier.

His family, of Ystrad Mynach near Caerphilly stressed "no matter how much trust you have in your dog, something like this is always possible."

The two dogs have now been destroyed after the death, early on Saturday.

Gwent Police are investigating the death of Jaden, who died after being taken to hospital.

We never thought it could happen to us, but we are now grieving the loss of our " little man"

Statement from Jaden Mack's family

He was being looked after by his grandmother - named by neighbours as Denise Wilson - on the night of the attack, which happened downstairs in the house.

Neighbours described hearing her screaming when she discovered what had happened to her grandson.

Jaden's parents, named locally as Alexandra and Christopher Mack, were out at the time, and his grandmother was taken to hospital to be treated for shock.

In a statement, the family said: "We would like to stress to all families with young children and pet dogs that no matter how much trust you have in your dog, something like this is always possible.

"We never thought it could happen to us, but we are now grieving the loss of our " little man" who will always be in our hearts and loved very much by all of his family and friends."

Meanwhile, experts are calling for better education about dogs and for the Dangerous Dogs Act to be reviewed.

Chris Lawrence, the veterinary director for the Dog's Trust and chairs the Dangerous Dogs Act study group, said previous cases had shown the act to be "ineffective".

He said that the number of people being admitted to hospital because of dog attacks had increased since the act was introduced in 1991.

The legislation criminalised certain breeds of dog, such as pit bull terriers, and targeted owners of any dogs who let their pets run out of control in public.

But Mr Lawrence said: "The law certainly needs changing and it needs changing so the law is protection on what a dog does rather than what it looks like and it needs to [apply] everywhere."

Tyson the Staffordshire bull terrier
Tyson the Staffordshire bull terrier has been destroyed, police say.

He added: "Education of dog owners is the key. The golden rule is never leave a dog and a child alone together because in the majority of cases, that's when things go wrong".

Jeanette Thompson, whose son was attacked by her two golden retriever dogs and now campaigns for the group, People Aware of Needless Dog Attacks, said: "There are things that people need to be aware if and the whole family needs to know."

In a statement, police said the two dogs "were removed from the property immediately after the incident and they have now been humanely destroyed".

Detectives have now completed a forensic examination of the grandmother's house and intend to speak to her over the coming days.

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said there was no criminal investigation and inquiries were being carried out on behalf of the Gwent Coroner.

Flowers and a toy outside the house where Jaden was attacked
Flowers and a toy have been left outside the house in Ystrad Mynach

Officers have completed a forensic examination of the house and are speaking to a number of witnesses.

They have reiterated their warning that dogs should never be left unsupervised with young children.

Police family liaison officers remain with the relatives, who, the force said, "wish to be left alone to grieve".

'Saddest of times'

Tributes to Jaden have appeared on the Gone Too Soon memorial website and flowers and and cuddly toys have ben placed outside the grandmother's house.

One card read: "To the family of baby Jaden. I just want to convey my heartfelt sympathy to you all.

"I can't imagine the pain you have to bear. All the people in the village and the country are thinking and praying for you at this saddest of times. Another angel in heaven. God bless."

Another tribute said: "God bless little one. Love from Jamie and family."

Ystrad Mynach councillor Martyn James said: "I think the community is in shock. Our sympathies go out to the family.

"It is such a tragic thing that has happened.

"My feelings and the community's feelings are with the family."

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