Mum demands change in law

The mother of a five-year-old Otley girl who was bitten on the face by a neighbour’s dog is demanding a change in the law.

Haley Turner, of Athelstan Lane, needed reconstructive surgery following the incident last Thursday, when she was attacked by a Jack Russell terrier.

The attack left her with a gaping wound in her cheek and she was taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where she underwent plastic surgery the following day.

But under current law, no action can be taken against the dog involved – something Haley’s mother Julie Turner and her partner Neil Choppen believe needs to be changed.

Julie said: “We want dog licences brought back. It would stop any confusion over ownership and stop dogs being handed around.

“We also want the law changed so it extends to wherever the dog is, even if it’s on its own property. Any dog who bites a child should be put down.”

The incident has shaken the family so badly that they have since got rid of their own puppy, which has gone to live with a relative, because they “just didn’t want to take the chance”.

Haley was playing with her seven-year-old sister, Ella, in a neighbour’s garden when the Jack Russell lunged at her face.

Julie said: “Ella came in screaming that Haley had been bitten. We rushed round and the dog’s owner was holding a tea-towel to Haley’s face.”

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is an offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in public, or in a private place where it is not permitted.

But if the dog is on its own property and bites someone, police can only take action if the injury is severe or the dog is considered a danger to others.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said in Haley’s case, no further action would be taken.

He said: “In more serious cases the law does allow for us to take more stringent action, but that does not fit with this incident.”

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