From left: John-Paul Massey, Uno the pit bull and its owner Christian Foulkes.1
"Dozy Teddy Bear"
UPDATE 04/13/10: Last November, John-Paul Massey was mauled to death by his uncle's pit bull. The fatal attack, committed by a banned breed, caused enormous public outrage in the UK. The dog's owner, Christian Foulkes, was recently charged with possessing a dangerous dog, breeding a dangerous dog and giving a dangerous dog as a gift.2 The boy's mother, Angela McGlynn, told the media that the dog was like "a dozy teddy bear" prior to killing her son.
"Just a few days before, I was dragging it around by the scruff of the neck when it tried to run out into the road and it did nothing. It was just like a dozy teddy bear."
It must be noted that McGlynn added the infamous "It was just a freak accident" phrase and that it was "no one's fault," despite the fact that Britain banned pit bull terriers in 1991 specifically to stop these horrible incidents. The boy's grandmother, Helen, suffered extensive injuries trying to stop the attack as well. "She's all scarred on her legs and stomach and arms," McGlynn said. "But the worst thing is she blames herself for still being alive instead of John-Paul."
The death of Massey once again demonstrates the genetic attack trait of the pit bull breed: unpredictable.
12/09/09: Dog Owner, Christian Foulkes Arrested
The BBC reports that the owner of Uno, 21-year old Christian Foulkes, has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. It is important to point out just how newsworthy the death of John-Paul Massey is in the United Kingdom. Google News shows well over 600 articles written about the incident. On the same day his tragic story emerged, Rosie Humphreys was struck down by a pit bull in the U.S. Thus far, only 33 U.S. articles have been written about her.
Unlike in the U.S., citizens and public officials of the United Kingdom are intolerant of these attacks.
12/01/09: Dog Identified as "Banned" Breed
Merseyside Police say that the dog was a "pit bull terrier-type," a breed banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. A criminal investigation has begun. The force has apologized after reports of dog breeding at the home were not followed up. The deadly attack upon John-Paul, which unfolded before his 13-year old brother's eyes, also involved his grandmother being attacked. The owner of the dog is 21-year old Christian Foulkes (pictured), the dead boy's uncle.
11/30/09: "Dogs Bred" at Fatal Attack House
UK - On the same day that DogsBite.org penned the London guide dog post -- who was savagely attacked by a pit bull-mix captured on CCTV -- the BBC reported that a 4-year old was mauled to death by a "pit bull type" dog. John-Paul Massey was killed at a home in Ash Grove, Wavertree, just after midnight, according to the BBC. His grandmother, 63-year old Helen Foulkes, suffered injuries trying to save the child and required hospital treatment.
The "breed of dog" as well as a previous complaint against the dog continues to be under investigation. In February, a person informed police that "dog breeding" was occurring at the residence. Ch Supt Steve Ashley, of Merseyside Police, said they are currently examining why no action was taken. He said that an officer who is an expert on dangerous dogs should have spoken to the caller who was concerned and, if necessary, visited the house to examine the dogs.
In 1991, the United Kingdom passed the Dangerous Dog Act, which bans four fighting breeds: pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brasileiros. The act also covers crossbreeds and any other dogs that appear "to be bred for fighting or to have the characteristics of a type bred for that purpose." The death of Massey patterns the 2007 death of 5-year old Ellie Lawrenson, who was attacked and killed by her uncle's pit bull at the family's Merseyside home.
05/11/10: Mauled boy's uncle pleads guilty over Wavertree death
04/09/10: Uncle charged over dog which killed John Paul Massey
04/01/10: Tragedy mother's danger dog warning
03/31/10: Debate into dangerous dog attacks
12/03/09: Uncle held over fatal dog attack
12/02/09: Dog mauling victim 'lit up lives'
12/01/09: Dog that mauled boy to death was an illegal breed
12/01/09: Breed inquiry into boy death dog
11/30/09: Boy's death leaves community shocked
11/30/09: Four-year-old boy killed by dog
11/30/09: Dangerous dog mauling 'latest in line'
11/27/07: Ellie's death 'unlawful killing'
09/11/07: 'No excuse' for owning banned dog
01/10/07: Police seize 28 pit bull terriers (Merseyside)
01/10/07: Girl killed by pit bull terrier
In related UK news, read how West Midlands Police are grappling with the pit bull problem.
2Prosecutors dropped the manslaughter charge.
02/10/09: UK Toddler Killed by Family Dogs Under Grandmother's Watch