This Article is From Aug 18, 2011

Four-year-old killed by pitbull in Australia

Four-year-old killed by pitbull in Australia
Melbourne: A four-year-old Australian was mauled to death by a neighbour's pitbull-mastiff cross (a bulldog breed) after being ripped from her mother in a ferocious attack, sparking calls on Thursday for a ban on dangerous dogs.

Ayen Chol, whose family is from Sudan, died at the scene after the dog chased another family member into a Melbourne home where she was watching television with other children on Wednesday evening, police said.

One cousin fought to fend off the vicious animal, suffering bites to her arms and hands during the struggle, during which she tried to beat the dog away with a table, local reports said. Another, aged five, was bitten on the face.

Both were rushed to hospital in a stable condition.

Daniel Atem, a cousin of the victim, said a family member was outside the house when the dog came at her and chased her inside.

Atem said the dog initially attacked the five-year-old and as Ayen's mother intervened, the dog then attacked Ayen.

"It pulled the child from the mum... the daughter died," Atem said.

"The dog left the child and then the owner of the dog came after that and took the dog out," he added.

The dog has been killed but police have not made a decision yet on whether the owner should face charges.

The dead girl's mother, Jackline Anchito, said she was devastated and claimed the dog's owners did not help despite her pleas.

"She was a loving child, and a very clever child. She died as she was struggling for her life," she told reporters through a translator.

"The owners of the dog have really let her down because they should have had some sort of way to control the dog."

It was another bitter blow for a family who migrated to Australia in 2004 for a better life only to see their house burn down earlier this year.

The father is working in southern Sudan but had been contacted and was returning to Melbourne, the family added.

The attack reignited calls for a crackdown on the breed, with the Victoria state government saying it would launch a "report a Dog" hotline and allocate funds, so cases can be investigated.

"There cannot be a more tragic situation than to see a young child like this, in these circumstances, killed in this horrible, horrible way," the Herald-Sun quoted Ted Baillieu, Victoria premier, as saying.

"We don't want to see this ever happen again and we will do whatever we possibly can to be rid of these dangerous dogs."

He vowed to toughen laws to impose criminal penalties and possible jail terms on the owners of dangerous dogs that kill.

Colin Muir, American Pit Bull Terrier Club of Australia president, said the issue was not about a particular breed but the wider problem of responsible ownership of dogs.

"A breed doesn't do these things, an individual dog does, and it's irrelevant what the breed is," he told reporters.