Two people charged after boy with life-changing injuries bitten in the head by XL bully

A man and a woman have been charged after a boy was bitten in the head by an XL bully dog on Saturday.

Amanda Young, 49, and Lewis Young, 30, both from Bootle in Merseyside, have been charged with being a person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury.

Officers seized the dog which police say was "humanely destroyed" with the owner's agreement.

The eight-year-old was attacked in a communal area of a block of flats in Bootle at about 5.20pm on Saturday.

The boy was taken to hospital where he had emergency surgery for his serious head injuries, and where he remains in a serious but stable condition, Merseyside Police said.

The suspects are not related to the injured child.

They have been remanded into custody to appear at Liverpool Magistrates Court on Monday 12 February.

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

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

He 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 proactive action."

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They added: "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 at the scene and officers are appealing for further witnesses to come forward and for anyone who may be able to assist enquiries to contact police."

It comes after a ban on XL bully dogs in England and Wales came into force earlier this month.

About 40,000 of the animals have been granted an exemption from the ban.

Owners were allowed to register their pets - in exchange for agreeing to a series of conditions, including having their dogs neutered, microchipped and insured - in order to save them from being put down.

New restrictions on the dogs are also set to be introduced in Scotland.

There are at least 50,000 to 100,000 XL bully dogs in the UK, according to estimates from animal groups.

Earlier this month grandmother Esther Martin, 86, died after being mauled by two dogs in Essex. Police later confirmed the animals were XL bullys.