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Boy, 8, suffers serious head injury in horrific attack by ‘XL Bully’ dog

An eight-year-old boy has been left with life-changing injuries after he was mauled by a dog, believed to be an XL bully, as police arrest a man and a woman over the attack.

Merseyside Police was called to Wadham Road in Bootle just after 5.20pm on Saturday following a report that the dog had bitten a boy’s head in the communal area of flats nearby.

The boy was taken to hospital for treatment of serious head injuries, where he remains in a serious but stable condition. Officers then seized the dog, which is believed to be an XL bully.

A 49-year-old woman and 30-year-old man, both from Bootle, have been arrested on suspicion of being a person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury. Neither are related to the child and they have been taken into custody to be interviewed.

“This was a horrific attack which has left a young child requiring emergency surgery for injuries to his head,” Detective Inspector Gary Stratton said.

“I want to reassure people that he is receiving the best possible care and treatment for his injuries, which are described as life-changing.

“We have seized the dog and extensive efforts are underway to establish exactly what happened. I want to appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident, who may have information, to come forward as soon as possible.”

Merseyside Police were called to Wadham Road in Bootle just after 5.20pm on Saturday
Merseyside Police were called to Wadham Road in Bootle just after 5.20pm on Saturday

The force said that house-to-house enquiries have been carried out in the area and all CCTV opportunities are being explored.

A number of witnesses have been spoken to and officers are appealing for anyone who may be able to assist enquiries to contact police.

Mr Stratton added: “This case highlights in the starkest terms the potential dangers of dogs, and I would appeal to anyone with information about dangerous dogs in their area to contact us so that we can take pro-active action.”

It comes days after Essex Police confirmed that the two dogs that fatally attacked a grandmother in Jaywick were XL bullies. Esther Martin was killed at a home in Hillman Avenue last Saturday after reportedly trying to break up fighting puppies.

She had been visiting her 11-year-old grandson when the tragedy occurred, with neighbours describing “horrific” screaming.

From February, a change in the Dangerous Dogs Act made it illegal to own an XL bully dog in England and Wales unless their dog has a valid certificate of exemption.

However, the legislation has drawn criticism from those who say it will not tackle a rise in dog attacks.