Family spaniel bites man's thumb off in Mexborough

South Yorkshire Police said the number of dangerous dog callouts is 'unprecedented'

A man who stepped in to protect his granddaughter from the family's dog suffered life-altering injuries when his thumb was bitten off.

Police were called to reports of a dog attack in Mexborough, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on Friday, 17 May.

They found the seven-year-old spaniel had become aggressive with a one-year-old girl while playing with toys.

Her grandfather attempted to intervene when the dog attacked him.

Both he and the baby, who had head injuries, were taken to hospital.

The family later agreed to have the dog put to sleep.

South Yorkshire Police are now urging owners to take precaution due to dangerous dogs putting "unprecedented demand" on the force.

The force said it responded to 36 calls relating to dangerous dogs over the weekend.

Ch Insp Emma Cheney said the incident highlights that "any dog has the ability to cause harm and injury, no matter its breed."

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

Ch Insp Cheney said emergency calls for dangerous dogs present a financial cost, often requiring multiple teams to attend as well as kennel personnel who then care and house the animals until action is decided.

She said: “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."

Ch Insp Cheney has made a plea to the public to follow police advice and "understand your dog and its behaviour"

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.