A fresh set of statistics has renewed fears about the number of dog attacks being reported across the UK.
An investigation by the BBC found that in one region, the number of prosecutions under the Dangerous Dogs Act has hit its highest level in five years.
A Freedom of Information request found that in 2014 more than 1200 offences were recorded in the East of England.
However, there is a worrying lack of information about the victims – no records are kept in relation to hospital admissions resulting from dog attacks.
One Northamptonshire nurse, concerned by the rising number of incidents, carried out her own audit.
Over a three month period, Sheila Cummiskey recorded that 87 people were treated at Kettering Hospital’s A&E. And many of those brought into casualty with bites, scratches and other injuries were children under the age of four.
“It is very shocking,” she said. “Not all dogs are dangerous but they all have teeth in their mouths and children are so vulnerable on the exposed areas.
“The dogs are going for their faces, their necks and areas that are going to do massive damage.”
Only last week, a mum spoke of her horror after her daughter was mauled by a friend’s Staffordshire bull terrier.
Mayzee Jo Gaspa, from North London, needed 240 stiches and surgery to save her nose following the terrifying attack.
Mum Maria said she was able to free her little girl from the animal’s jaws but warned other parents to be on their guard when their young children are around dogs – even when there is no obvious sign of danger.