Dog Attack: Owner Charged With Animal Cruelty

The owner of four dogs that mauled a 14-year-old girl to death has been charged with animal cruelty offences.

Jade Lomas-Anderson died after she was attacked by two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers.

Their owner, Beverley Concannon, of Almond Grove, Worsley Hall, Wigan, has been charged with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The charges relate to the conditions in which she kept the four dogs at her home address and her failure to exercise reasonable care and supervision of them.

The 45-year-old will appear at Wigan Magistrates' Court on October 1, Greater Manchester Police said.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it had concluded after a "detailed review" that there was "insufficient evidence" to bring any criminal charges in connection with the teenager's "tragic death".

Jade was visiting a friend at Ms Concannon's former home in Chaucer Grove, Atherton, near Wigan, on March 26 when she was set upon by the dogs.

Police were later called to the house following reports a girl was unconscious and a number of dogs were "out of control".

The teenager's body was found with injuries consistent with a dog attack, and armed officers shot dead the bull mastiffs and Staffordshire bull terriers at the scene.

Elizabeth Reed, Branch Crown Prosecutor, CPS North West, said she had considered whether it was possible to bring any charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act and whether there was sufficient evidence to charge Concannon with manslaughter by gross negligence.

She said because the four dogs were not prohibited breeds under the act and were not out of control in a public place it was not possible to bring charges under the legislation.

"I have also concluded, taking into account all the facts and circumstances of this case and the law relating to manslaughter by gross negligence, that there is insufficient evidence to bring a charge for this offence against her," she said.

"This is a very sad case in which a young girl tragically lost her life. We have given it the meticulous attention it deserves and have considered all possible prosecution outcomes.

"My thoughts and sincere condolences remain with Jade's family for their loss. They have been kept informed throughout the case and we have given them a detailed explanation of our decisions."

Magistrates can impose a maximum jail sentence of 51 weeks and/or a fine of up to £20,000 for anyone convicted of offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

In June, Jade's mother, Shirley, and stepfather Michael urged the Government to tighten the laws around dangerous animal ownership "to prevent what we are going through from happening to other people".

The Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Bill - designed to protect people who visit houses as part of their job, such as postal workers, utility staff and healthcare employees - aims to remove the immunity from prosecution of dog owners whose animal attacks someone on private property.

Under the plans for England and Wales, announced in February, a dog owner could be prosecuted if they fail to stop their dog attacking someone on their own, or someone else's property.