Man loses a thumb after family dog attacks in Doncaster

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A man who stepped in to protect his granddaughter has suffered life-altering injuries after the family dog bit his thumb off.

You are more likely to be bitten by a dog known to you and within a home environment.

As dangerous dogs continue to place unprecedented demand on the police force, they’re continuing to urge owners and families to take precautions. Any dog can bite, it can happen to anyone.

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On Friday 17 May just before 9am, police were called to reports of a dog bite at a property in Mexborough.

Man loses a thumb after family dog attacks.Man loses a thumb after family dog attacks.
Man loses a thumb after family dog attacks.

The family’s seven-year-old Spaniel had become aggressive towards a baby in the property while playing with toys. The one-year-old suffered wounds to her head and as her grandfather attempted to intervene, the dog attacked him, biting his thumb off.

Both the baby and man were taken to hospital. The family later agreed to have the dog put to sleep and dog legislation officers have supported their decision to take the dog to a private vet.

Officers’ response to this incident was just one of 36 calls we received over the weekend, with the demand continuing into this week. Overnight, police have received a further five calls, with two bull breed dogs being seized for attacking, causing serious injuries requiring hospital treatment.

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Chief Inspector Emma Cheney, leading the work on dangerous dogs in South Yorkshire, said: “This incident highlights that any dog has the ability to cause harm and injury, no matter its breed.

“Dangerous dogs are continuing to place demand on our force and we’re urging owners to take precaution to reduce risk and injury.

“Emergency calls for dangerous dogs present a financial cost for the force every time we respond, often requiring officers from multiple teams to attend, as well as contracted kennel personnel who then transport, house and care for the dogs until action is decided.

“Following the initial emergency response, officers then carry out safeguarding checks and referrals for vulnerable people, progress the investigation into any criminal aspects of the incident and ultimately ensure justice is secured.

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“Separate from the investigative resources, the dogs seized during incidents must be cared for and kennelled until a decision is made.

“Already in 2024, we have had to seize over 300 dogs for various reasons, most often because they were deemed to be dangerously out of control or suspected to be a banned breed. These dogs have to be kennelled at the taxpayer’s cost.

“In addition to the cost, the hours in attendance and investigating takes valuable officers’ time away from the frontline, as well as adding further pressure to our NHS colleagues through hospital admissions and care.

“Please act. Please follow our advice, understand your dog and its behaviour, and seek help where necessary.”

Do not leave children unattended with dogs

Walk your dog on a lead in public areas

Make sure your dog has somewhere safe and comfortable to go when you have visitors

For more information and advice, please visit the BlueCross website at this address https://www.bluecross.org.uk/.