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(Updated 24/8/01)

German GSD kills 11 year old girl

ANOTHER CHILD died horrifically as the result of an attack by a dangerous dog in Germany last week. An 11-year-old girl was savaged to death by her family's German Shepherd at her home in Lutzhorn, near Hamburg, the city in which six year-old Volkan Kaja was killed by a Pit Bull Terrier last year, writes Nick Mays.

The dog was destroyed, but the German media amazingly played down the whole incident. Whereas before any incident involving a dog would be headline news in the country's Government-friendly newspapers, the latest tragedy warranted hardly a mention.

Campaigners against the repressive 'Fighting Dog' laws introduced at national and regional level over the past year as a result of Volkan Kaja's death have expressed the view that the incident was dismissed because the dog involved is the German national breed, which does not figure on any of the so-called 'Fighting Breeds' on any State's list of 'dangerous' breeds.

David Levy, Kennel Club's representative of the Stafford Bull Terrier Breed Council, expressed his surprise and concern at the low-key response to the child's death in Germany.

"We were very surprised to discover that our colleagues in Germany had seen little about this story compared with the mass coverage that has taken place for over a year based on the incident in 2000 when a child was killed by a pit bull," he said.

Surprised

"Any overly-aggressive act by any dog must be taken seriously and the circumstances relating to the dog and its owners considered. And without in any way wishing to prejudice the German Shepherd, which obviously has an excellent reputation both here and in Germany, we were surprised that the German media made so little of this incident compared to the coverage of last year's incident.

"Doubtless this will be considered by the various courts reviewing the legality of the breed-specific laws introduced over the past few months."

• Both national and regional police statistics relating to dog bites show that German Shepherds and GSD - crosses account for the greatest number of attacks on human beings. In the state of Northrhein Westphalia, dog bite figures for the 9 year period to 1998 show that GSDs accounted for 41.9 per cent of attack incidents, which included 25 slight injuries, 5 serious injuries and one death, whilst Pit Bull Terriers accounted for 16.2 per cent of incidents, comprising 7 slight injuries, 5 serious injuries and no deaths.