By Ben Chapman: ITV News Correspondent
A powerful dog which mauled to death a young girl was allowed to be adopted by the family without a home visit, an inquest has heard.
Lexi Branson, 4, died when the Aylestone Bulldog, named Mulan, turned on her at home last November.
Michael Watts, the owner of the Willow Tree Rehoming Centre, today told a coroner the family did "not necessarily" qualify for a home visit, despite living in a small flat, with no secure garden. Staff had previously considered Mulan unsuitable to be rehomed with young children, because of her size.
"Our policy is that we may visit the home if we're in any doubt about the suitability of the home for the dog," he said.
But one was not carried out for Mulan, despite a conversation with Lexi's mother, Jodi Hudson, about her circumstances.
"That issue was discussed with Jodi and a decision made for her to consider whether to take the dog," Mr Watts said. "The responsibility is with both parties. If we believe the dog was potentially suitable and the owner wanted to take the dog, initially on a trial basis, then fine."
He told the court all dogs could be brought back to the centre if the adoption was not working out, and he said a follow up phone call was made to Ms Hudson.
Lexi was attacked a month later.
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