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Dog maul victim's parents back new campaign

14-year-old Jade Lomas-Anderson died in March 2013 after dog attack Photo:

The parents of a teenager who was mauled to death by a pack of dogs are backing a new campaign to cut the risk of similar attacks.

Jade Lomas-Anderson, 14, died after she was attacked by two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers as she visited a friend's home on March 26.

Now Jade's Campaign has been launched to encourage owners to be responsible and control their dog's behaviour.

Since Jade's death, her mother Shirley Anderson and step-father Michael have led a high-profile campaign calling for tougher sentences for owners whose dogs attack people.

Mr Anderson said: "This is a more practical campaign calling on people to make sure they are looking after their dogs. The message we want people to understand is that if a dog isn't cared for properly they can potentially become dangerous.

"A quarter of a million people were attacked by dogs last year. We think this could be significantly reduced if people took better care of their dogs. That means making sure they get plenty of exercise and food, are kept in an appropriate environment and have clear behaviour boundaries."

He added: "Some owners might have difficulty controlling their pet. We want to help them by offering advice and support. We hope this will stop problems arising. We're also hoping to encourage members of the public to come forward if they think an owner is mistreating a dog or a dog is becoming dangerous. This information could be vital in preventing further attacks."

In June, Mr and Mrs Anderson visited Westminster to urge the Government to tighten the laws around dangerous animal ownership.

Jade's Campaign will be launched this week with an awareness event held on the Hag Fold estate in Atherton, Greater Manchester, where the teenager lived.

Owners will be offered advice on looking after dogs and practical help such as free microchipping.

Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council, said: "This is a major campaign for the council and we plan to hold a series of community events across Wigan Borough over the coming months. We are committed to working with Jade's family to raise awareness of this issue and to do all we can to encourage people to take care of their dogs responsibly."

Last week the owner of the dogs that attacked Jade was charged with animal cruelty offences.

Beverley Concannon, 45, of Almond Grove, Worsley Hall, Wigan, has been charged with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

She will appear at Wigan Magistrates' Court on October 1.

Jade was visiting a friend at Ms Concannon's former home in Chaucer Grove, Atherton, during half-term holidays.

Police were later called to the scene following reports a girl was unconscious and a number of dogs were out of control.

Following the discovery of Jade's body, armed officers shot dead the four dogs.