In Doncaster this week, a woman is counting herself lucky to be alive after being savaged by a Staffordshire bull terrier.
The dog, owned by a neighbour, clamped its jaws around the terrified 37-year-old’s face. Colleen Hutchinson needed 72 stitches.
Forty miles away in Bradford, a 13-year-old boy is recovering from almost having his throat ripped out and his ear bitten off by an American Bulldog after being attacked while visiting relatives.
And they are indeed the lucky ones. Sixteen people have been killed by dangerous dogs since 2005.
Remember the horrifying story of 14-year-old Jade Anderson, who in March was savaged by four dogs - believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers - simply for eating a pie in a friend’s Greater Manchester home?
Nearly a quarter of a million dog attacks happened last year alone, with 6,500 people hospitalised,
What happens? The dogs get put down and the owners, at best, get two years in jail. At worst, they get a paltry £100 fine and are ordered not to own a dog again. And how can that ever be enforced? If you’re hellbent on owning another devil-dog, you’ll simply house it elsewhere.
But if an online petition garners enough public support, and the government heed proposals launched by the animal welfare minister, owners of killer dogs could face life in prison and those with dogs that maim face a maximum jail term of 10 years.
It’s crucial owners are made to fear the law - because it’s absurd to blame the dogs.
In some breeds, aggression is indeed inherent, but it’s a certain type of owner who strives to cultivate it.
They are thugs. They don’t want an adorable pet. The animal is there only to stroke their ego and engender fear. Strutting with a ferocious, brute on a leash (which end?) is the legal equivalent of walking the streets with a loaded gun. If they are caught for shooting someone, they get jail. If their dog kills someone, why should it be any different?