Dangerous dogs: The chilling warning from mother of Jack Lis who was killed by an XL Bully

The mother of a ten-year-old boy killed in a dog attack in Caerphilly says she feels like nobody is listening after further attacks in the area. 

Emma Whitfield’s son, Jack Lis, was killed by an XL Bully - a relatively new breed known for its size and muscle mass - on the Penyrheol estate in Caerphilly in November 2021.

She is now campaigning for a change in the law to prevent other people dying from dog attacks.

However, having now spent time in Westminster lobbying members of parliament, as well as making several media appearances, Emma says she feels like change is not coming quickly enough.

In the time since Jack was killed, two other high-profile attacks have taken place on the Penyrheol estate, with an 83-year-old woman killed in December 2022, and a five-month-old baby attacked in April 2023.

Jack Lis was 10-years-old when he was killed by an XL Bully on the Penyrheol estate in November 2021.

A lack of movement on the issue also leaves her feeling like it is only a matter of time before it happens again.

Speaking to ITV’s Wales This Week, Emma said: “I can’t believe it’s happened again, two attacks after Jack in the same area. 

“I feel like it should never have happened in the first place, it feels like nobody’s listened or learned from mistakes. 

“Everyone around my area knows what happened, and I don’t understand how it can keep happening.

“Nobody should be losing their family member or their child in the way that we have. I need it to stop.”

The four banned breeds in the UK are Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, Pitbulls and Fila Brasileiros.

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, it is currently illegal to own any of four banned breeds of dog: Pitbulls (type), Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Filo Brazilieros.

However, none of the banned breeds were involved in the recent high profile attacks in Wales. 

It is also illegal to be in charge of a dog acting dangerously out of control, regardless of breed.

However, just 48 dangerous dogs cases were passed by Welsh police forces to the Crown Prosecution Service last year, with 43 resulting in a criminal conviction.

A number of potential changes to legislation have been proposed, including moving away from breed specific legislation, introducing dog licensing, and tougher regulations on breeding and selling.

The UK Government, responsible for dangerous dog legislation, has launched a working group to discuss how any changes would be introduced, and its findings are expected later this year.

Any change to the law will take time, however police forces have powers to act under the existing legislation.

Earlier this year, Gwent Police, the force responsible for policing in Caerphilly, confirmed it had seized 13 dogs on suspicion of being banned breeds in Caerphilly.

'Beast', the dog that killed Jack Lis, is not a banned breed, but had been acting dangerously out of control beforehand.

However, when asked what their policy is regarding dogs that are out of control, it said its officers have the power to intervene “when there is a fatality or severe injury to a person or animal.”

Other forces in the UK have taken a more preventative approach, encouraging people to report concerns about dogs, intervening at an earlier stage, and running community outreach projects.

Gwent Police is planning to use a new safety partnership initiative called LEAD, which promotes responsible ownership while tackling anti-social and inconsiderate behaviour. 

However, 18 months on from Jack Lis’ death, the scheme is yet to be rolled out.

The force told ITV Cymru Wales it expects it to be up and running in Caerphilly by the end of the summer.

Watch Wales This Week: When Dogs Attack on ITV Cymru Wales at 8:30pm on Thursday, June 8. Catch up afterwards online and on ITVX.

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