Over the last week the media have reported on a number of horrific dog bite cases, one of the worst of which left a two year old boy with severe facial injuries. Kieron Guess has had to undergo surgery to reconstruct his ear and nose and looks likely to lose to he sight in one eye after being mauled by a Staffordshire Terrier owned by Gary King. Some have expressed surprise that the dog owner has not been arrested and is unlikely to face prosecution. Chief Inspector Keith Ewart, the head of response operations for Wiltshire police inSwindonhas been explaining why. He said that because the attack happened in the back yard of Mr King's home it was on private property and therefore the laws on dangerous dogs could not be applied. Chief Inspector Ewart was reported in the Western Daily Press as saying: "Our thoughts are with Kieron and his family at what must be a particularly traumatic time, and everyone at Wiltshire Police wishes Kieron a speedy recovery. We can confirm that this incident happened in a privately owned garden in Swanage Walk in the Moredon area of the town. Any investigation must remain within the framework of the law and in this case the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 does not apply because the dog was on private premises at the time of the incident. The police have confirmed that they had previously attended the address where the incident happened in September 2011 and two dogs were subsequently examined to determine whether they were illegally bred. A qualified expert examined both dogs and found that they were Staffordshire bull terriers and that the owners were lawfully in possession. No offences were revealed in relation to these dogs. It is understood that the animal which attacked Kieron was voluntarily surrendered to the police and was examined and found to be a Staffordshire bull terrier. It is not illegal to own a Staffordshire bull terrier. The dog was destroyed with the full consent of the owner. Though the police would not be able to prosecute the dog owner the law would allow for Kieron to make a civil claim for compensation. However while such a claim is likely to be successful it is unknown at this time if the Mr King has the benefit of insurance which could cover the cost of Kieron's substantial injuries.
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