Dog shot dead by police in Hebburn street after four people injured in attack
A dog has been shot dead by police after attacking a number of people.
Northumbria Police said officers had “no other option” but to shoot the animal following an attack in Whickham Road, Hebburn, which saw a number of people bitten and injured.
One woman suffered serious injuries to her leg and paramedics were unable to get past the dog and into the house where the woman was inside.
Among those attacked was 16-year-old, James Alexander, who was bitten by the animal while trying to rescue his own dog, a five-year-old shih tzu called Bo Bo.
James said the dog bit into his hand – with its teeth going through his nail and out the other side.
He said: “The dog came out of nowhere and grabbed onto my dog’s leg, I tried to get him off and it bit me too.
“It’s jaw locked and I just couldn’t get him off Bo. People came to help but there wasn’t much they could do because the dog was just going for them too.”
His dad, also James Alexander, said vet bills have already cost the family more than £600 and Bo Bo is now back home but is shaken.
“I had to sleep downstairs with him last night,” said James Snr.
“I wasn’t here when it happened but I came from work and took James to the hospital. It could have attacked a small child, it’s a horrible thought.”
The shot dog is understood to have been one-year-old Hugo – a banned Pit Bull Terrier-type breed.
An application for destruction of a dog otherwise than on a conviction, in accordance with Section 4B of the dangerous dogs act 1991, was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court who were told that Hugo, who lived with his owner in Whickham Road, Hebburn, had been thoroughly assessed by a Northumbria Police dog expert, who said he was very happy that Hugo was a loving pet and he had no problem releasing him from the kennels back to the care of his family while they waited for his case to be heard.
The officer said at the time: “I was happy to return the dog on an interim basis, a bit like doggy bail.”
But two months later, on Tuesday, October 15, Hugo attacked another dog and several people, after it is believed he was spooked by fireworks.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “The dog was seized because it had characteristics similar to that of a Pit Bull Terrier which is a banned breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
“The animal was housed in kennels and assessed by a dog expert. It was acknowledged that it was a cross-breed and had shown no previous signs of aggression, so was therefore returned to the owner on an interim basis.”
Emergency services were called at 6.45pm on Tuesday to Whickham Road.
Inspector Denise Easdon, of Northumbria Police, said: “Officers attended and found the dog outside the address, with children inside along with a female who had suffered serious injuries to her leg.
“Due to the aggressive nature of the dog, along with its size and weight, paramedics were unable reach the injured woman.
“Given the risk posed of further injury to those inside the address and officers it was not safe to restrain the animal or wait for a vet.
“Police were subsequently left with no other option but to shoot the animal when it ran towards an officer.”
Witnesses say armed police descended on the street and a cordon was put in place for around two hours.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “We stayed in the house. The cordon was up at both ends and we were told to keep back from the windows.
“We heard three shots go off and we saw a council van come and collect a bag which looked like it had the dog in.
“The whole thing lasted about two hours. We weren’t sure what was going on at first but we heard that a few people had been attacked by a dog.
“There were fireworks going off beforehand and my dogs were barking.”
A spokesman for North East Ambulance Service confirmed that a double-crewed ambulance and two Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART) were sent to the scene in response to the callout.
The service took one patient to South Tyneside District Hospital’s A&E department. Northumbria Police said three others required medical treatment.
The force’s inquiries are ongoing to establish if any criminal offences have been committed.
Anyone with concerns can contact the force on 101 quoting reference 931 151019, or speak to an officer on patrol.