Dog attacks have hospitalised 51

An injury sustained following a dog attack
An injury sustained following a dog attack

MORE than 50 people were admitted to Wigan Infirmary last year as the result of dog attacks new figures have revealed.

The latest figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that some 51 victims required hospital treatment for dog bites in 2012/13.

In the wake of the tragic death of 14 year old Jade Anderson who was mauled to death by a pack of dogs in Atherton earlier this year, the figures only serve to strengthen the case for swift changes to laws governing dogs and their owners.

While the figure did drop from 68 in 2011/12, there is still concern among campaigners and MPs.

Hospital chiefs confirmed that dog bites can be serious but at present they do not have to inform the police if somebody is admitted.

A spokesperson for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) said: “WWL can confirm that if patients present with dog bite, the treatment is to clean and treat the wound, suture if required, tetanus injection and prescribe antibiotics. It is not WWL’s responsibility to inform the police of the bite it is entirely up to the individual who has been bitten.”

Speaking on a visit to the borough last week, Lord De Mauley, the Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said that legislation is already going through parliament to ensure that dog owners will be more accountable for their pets.

He said: “New legislation will be extended to all places in which any dog attack occurs. It will mean dog owners are held responsible and tougher penalties will be brought down on those in breach of the Dangerous Dogs Act.

“The law will also move to cover any workers who may be affected such as postal workers and health visitors.”

Lord De Mauley also said that persistent problems with dogs regarding anti-social behaviour will be dealt with under new legislation.

He added: “There will be flexible tools for the authorities to use to clamp down on nuisance dog owners as well as new powers regarding assaults on any assistance dogs, such as guide dogs.

“Hopefully if we can nip such behaviour in the bud it will not lead to more tragic incidents.”

Jade’s step-father, Michael Anderson, 34, said plans for higher sentences for irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to attack members of the public was “going down the right path”.

Mr Anderson said he and his wife, Jade’s mother Shirley, 36, will continue campaigning in support of early prevention measures.

“Dog attacks have been going for years and it has got worse and worse and worse,” he added.