Detectives probe whether dog that killed ‘beautiful’ and ‘sweet’ boy was illegal

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The mother of a 10-year-old boy says she is heartbroken after her “beautiful” and “sweet” son was killed by a dog in Caerphilly.

Jack Lis was mauled to death by a “powerful” and “aggressive” dog on Monday, Gwent Police confirmed today.

He had been playing at a friend’s house after school in Pentwyn, Penyrheol, when the attack happened.

Paramedics were called to the scene just before 4pm but they were unable to save him.

The dog was shot by firearms officers who were also called to the scene.

Neighbours say they believe the dog was an American pit bull, but a post-mortem has yet to verify the breed.

Detectives are assessing if an offence was committed, including whether the dog was a breed that is illegal to keep as a pet in the UK.

Jack’s mother Emma Whitfield wrote: “With so much heart break […] I have to announce our beautiful boy Jack was taken so tragically yesterday.

“It was not our dog nor did it happen at our family home. He was out to play.

“We love you so much our sweet sweet boy.”

A neighbour tried to pull the dog off Jack after the other boy ran into the street and called for help.

Another neighbour, Tracey Lawrence, said: “He [the neighbour] ran over and tried to open the door and get the boy out but the dog was latched on to the boy and he couldn’t get him off.

“It’s really traumatised him.

“I’ve got a grandson who plays in my garden and just the thought that the dog was next door is frightening,” she added.

People living in the street said they have been shocked by the incident.

Police at the scene in Pentwyn, Penyrheol, near Caerphilly, where a 10-year-old boy has died following reports of a dog attack (Ben Birchall/PA)
Police at the scene in Pentwyn, Penyrheol, near Caerphilly, where a 10-year-old boy has died following reports of a dog attack (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ricky Willis, 70, said: “It’s a big shock. I’ve lived on this road for 46 years and I’ve never seen anything like this happen.”

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, described the scene as “chaos”.

Another person who lives on the road said: “I feel sick to my stomach thinking about what happened to that boy.

“We went out to see what was going on but the police asked us to go back inside while they put the child in the ambulance. So we did, out of respect.”

People have been leaving flowers throughout the day near the house where Jack, a pupil at Cwm Ifor primary school, died.

One read: “RIP Little one.”

Another read: “RIP young man. So so sorry for the loss to the family.”

Forensic crime scene investigators entered the house on Tuesday to take pictures.

Chief Superintendent Mark Hobrough, of Gwent Police, said Jack’s death was a “traumatic” and “tragic”.

He said: “It appears Jack has left school and accompanied by a school friend of the same age he’s attended at premises in order to go out to play with his friend. Unfortunately, when he has gone inside the house that’s when the dog attack has happened and it’s had fatal consequences on Jack, which is absolutely tragic and my thoughts go out to the family, school friends and wider community at this time.

“It’s fair to say this was a large and powerful dog acting in a highly aggressive manner and Jack had clearly deceased prior to officers removing him from the premises.”

He said the boys were alone at the house when the attack happened, and dog legislation officers were working to identify whether the dog was one of four prohibited breeds in the UK, which include the pit bull, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Braziliero.

Mr Hobrough added: “We’ve been speaking to the owner of the dog after the incident was contained and that is very much happening now. We’re looking at all the investigative aspects of this that may involve arrests or dealing with individuals if any offences are identified.

“I think as a parent and as a dog owner I’m very, very concerned about this incident happening. I think the investigation over time will give us more details as to the background as to what’s happened and if there was anything avoidable that’s happened through neglect or wilful act.

“To buy a banned dog is a criminal offence and there’s no excuse for it and it will be dealt with the full weight of UK legislation.

“My advice to dog owners in general and people who are potentially looking to buy dogs is to do background research on the type of dog that suit your activities and your family or domestic set-up. As a dog owner for many, many years myself, dogs need exercising and you got to get a dog who is suitable to your needs as well.”

Anyone with information or concerns are asked to contact police on Facebook or Twitter. Or contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.

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