There has been a huge increase in attacks on children by dogs
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There has been a huge increase in attacks on children by dogs
The toll is up 352 on 2018 and 52 per cent higher than a decade ago, with animal welfare experts blaming irresponsible owners and a flawed Dangerous Dogs Act

Dog attacks hit a record high last year with a disturbing 1,700 kids savaged.

Of 8,859 victims across England who needed hospital treatment, 37 were babies, 603 were aged one to four and 538 were five to nine.

The toll is up 352 on 2018 and 52 per cent higher than a decade ago.

Animal welfare charity the PDSA blamed irresponsible owners and said the Dangerous Dogs Act was not working.

PDSA vet Anna Ewers Clark said children must never be left on their own with dogs.

She added: "We feel extremely strongly that significant resources should be dedicated to educating owners."

She said owners must understand dog behaviour and know how to socialise and train pets.

The attack toll included nine-year-old Plymouth lad Frankie Macritchie, who bled to death after being bitten 54 times. He had been left in a caravan with an American bulldog-­Staffordshire cross.

His mum Tawnee Willis, 31, was partying with dog owner Sadie Totterdell, 29. They were both jailed.

The Dogs Trust's Rachel Casey said: "Every biting incident is one too many. Our thoughts are with those affected by these distressing events.

"It's important to remember, though, the proportion of dogs which show aggression is low. The majority of people live harmoniously with their pets."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has commissioned research to assess the effectiveness of dog control measures and promote responsible ownership.

It said: "Dog attacks can have horrific consequences. Through the Dangerous Dogs Act we are ­determined to crack down on ­irresponsible dog ownership."