Police seize pit bulls in Merseyside raids

Eight pit bull terrier dogs have been seized by Merseyside Police in a series of raids.

The raids, which took place on Wednesday night, followed the death of five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson, who was mauled to death by a pit bull terrier at her grandmother's home in St Helens in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Six dogs were seized at an address in Parr, St Helens, while two more animals, which appeared to be adult pit bull terrier type dogs, were also seized at an address in Cronton in Widnes.

Officers also seized a quantity of high protein dog food in the St Helen's raid and said that at least one of the dogs seized there appeared to have had its ears cropped, which is believed to be a common preparation for dogs which are bred for fighting.

All the dogs were removed by council dog wardens and taken to secure kennels.

The raids, carried out under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, were conducted following a tip-off from a member of the public.

Ellie Lawrenson died from severe head and neck injuries after being mauled by a pit bull terrier type breed.

Her grandmother, Jackie Simpson, 46, was also injured during the attack. She suffered damage to tendons in her arms and severe damage to her thumb and elbow. She underwent emergency surgery in hospital and remains there in a comfortable condition.

Police have not yet been able to speak to her about the attack.

The dog, which is believed to belong to Ellie's uncle, was shot dead at the scene by police marksmen.

Police have confirmed that a 23-year-old man has been questioned in connection with the attack after voluntarily going to a local police station. He has not been arrested.

Post-mortem tests conducted on the animal confirmed that it was a pit bull terrier type breed, one of four breeds which are prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Under the Act, owners can face prosecution and a £5,000 fine and up to six months in jail for illegal possession of a dangerous dog.

Merseyside Police have confirmed that two previous complaints had been made about the dog which killed Ellie. On one occasion, the animal attacked another dog and the owner was issued with a warning letter, while a second warning letter was also issued following a complaint over noise.


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