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Judge calls case ‘a warning’

A MOTHER told an inquest how she watched in horror as their pet American bulldog killed her one-year-old son.

Liam Eames had been crawling across the living room floor when the adult bitch named Missy, which had been acquired from a rescue centre, grabbed him by the head and neck.

His mother, Jacqueline, desperately tried to free him before the family's other dog, a Bordeaux bulldog named Molly, intervened.

Mrs Eames snatched Liam and ran out of the room shouting: "My baby. Please, someone save my baby." Paramedics were called to the house in Tinshill, Leeds, but Liam was pronounced dead an hour later from head and neck wounds on July 11th this year.

His father, Christopher Eames, told the hearing that Missy had never previously shown any aggression towards Liam or his brother Ben, five, since arriving from the rescue centre eight months earlier. He said: "She was really good with the boys and we never had any problems."

However, Mr Eames said he had once received a small wound to his hand when he tried to separate the dogs from scrapping with each other.

Trevor Turner, chief veterinary officer for Crufts dog show, told the court that, although the breed was not regarded as a dangerous dog under British law, they had an "extremely powerful jaw".

He said Missy was probably suffering a "phantom pregnancy", which can cause dogs to act out of character.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, David Hinchcliff, the West Yorkshire coroner, said the family was not to blame. But he believed that the case was a warning to other families with young children against acquiring grown-up rescue dogs.