Neighbour feared XL bully dogs that killed owner were dangerous

The neighbour of a woman who was mauled to death by two XL bully dogs feared the animals were dangerous and warned her child to never touch them.

Horrified onlookers saw emergency medical teams administering CPR to the dog owner, who was aged in her fifties and has been named locally as Angel Mahal.

She was fatally attacked in her home in Cornwall Close, Hornchurch, east London, just after 1pm on Monday.

The Sun reported that relatives, who described her as “loved by everyone”, had asked her to get rid of the animals before the tragedy.

A sticker in the front window of the mother-of-two’s home reads: “Never mind the dog. Beware the kids”

One neighbour, Sejal Solanki, said she had warned her child about going near the XL bully dogs.

She told the PA news agency: “I said ‘Don’t ever touch those dogs. They’re dangerous’.”

A blue forensic tent was put up outside the woman’s home, which is in a small residential street.

Police said she was pronounced dead at the scene and the two registered dogs were seized after being contained in a room.

Another woman living nearby, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed her shock at the attack.

XL bully dogs
Campaigners protested against the ban before it was brought into force, calling instead for a focus on responsible dog ownership rather than breed (Jacob King/PA)

She told PA: “I came out of the house and looked to see what had happened.

“We hadn’t heard anything but saw a helicopter overhead and loads of police.

“I stood by the road and saw a paramedic administering CPR. That poor woman. It’s shocking.”

Neighbours said they were told to stay indoors “out of respect” before being evacuated by the police.

One man, who asked to remain anonymous, told PA: “I was sat in the garden when it happened. I didn’t hear anything but I saw a helicopter overhead.

“I looked out and saw two or three ambulances and eight or nine police cars. We asked police what had happened, they said there’d been ‘an unfortunate incident’.

“At around 4.15pm we were told to evacuate. We were out for around half an hour while police blocked off the road.”

From February 1, it became a criminal offence to own the XL bully breed in England and Wales without an exemption certificate.

Anyone who owns one of the dogs must have had the animal neutered, have it microchipped and keep it muzzled and on a lead in public, among other restrictions.

Dog attack in Jaywick
Esther Martin died in Essex in February (Essex Police/PA)

The Government move to ban XL bullies followed a series of attacks.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 16 deaths due to dog attacks in 2023, a sharp rise from preceding years where the number had been in single figures.

As of late 2023, around 60% of dogs held in police kennels were a bull breed of some kind.

The attack in Hornchurch comes after mother and son Amanda Young, 49, and Lewis Young, 30, were jailed last week after an eight-year-old boy was injured in a “savage and sustained attack” by their XL bully.

The boy suffered extensive injuries to his scalp, face and hands in the attack in the communal area of a block of flats in Wadham Road, Bootle, Merseyside, on February 10.

In March, Farhat Ajaz, 61, admitted being the owner of a dangerously out of control XL bully that injured an 11-year-old girl and two men in Birmingham.

And in the same month four men were hurt by a dog suspected to be the banned breed in Battersea, south-west London, after which the animal was shot by police.

On February 3, just after the ban came into force, grandmother Esther Martin, 68, suffered unsurvivable wounds in a dog attack at a house in Jaywick in Essex, while visiting her grandson.

She had reportedly tried to break up a fight between two puppies before she was attacked.