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Warning: Police say they were called to a string of dog attacks earlier this month
Police sounded the alert after a string of dog attacks on children - including one where a 12-year-old girl needed 11 stitches in her face

Parents and dog owners have been warned heatwave conditions could trigger a spike in dog attacks after a series of incidents involving young children.

Police sounded the alert after a string of dog attacks on children over a three-day period - including one where a 12-year-old girl needed 11 stitches in her face after being attacked by her families Fox Terrier.

Animal charities have also warned dogs can become more irritable in extreme heat and that attacks are likely to rise as dogs and children play outdoors in the sunshine.

Sussex Police revealed it had been called to six serious dog bite incidents in just three days over the weekend of 19-21 June.

Three children needed stitches in their face following the attacks, including an eight-year-old girl bitten by a friend's Shitzu-Bizon and a five-year-old girl who was bitten three times by her family's Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Inspector Di Lewis, from the Sussex and Surrey dogs unit, said: "More and more people are out enjoying the warmer weather and longer days which is meaning children are having more contact with dogs that are out with their owners.

"Dogs can get excited when playing and may accidentally hurt children or adults. If the dog does not know the person it could become confused and think they are playing a game with it - or the animal could become scared and bite or scratch to defend itself.

"That applies both when you are outdoors but also when you go to the home of someone who has a dog who does not know you. The fact that children have also been injured by their family dogs shows how dangerous they can be if they are not properly supervised."

The other incidents included a 14-year-old girl who was hospitalised when a Staffordshire Bull Terrier bit her three three times and a two-year-old girl who was taken to hospital after being scratched by another Staffie.

A 14-year-old girl was also also taken to hospital after being scratched on the cheek by her family's Dachshund.