The mother of a boy who was killed after being mauled by an Americal XL Bully dog has spoken out about her son’s injuries. Jack Lis, 10, was killed by the dog, named Beast, while visiting a friend’s house in November 2021. Police were forced to shoot dead the pet after arriving at the scene in Penyrheol in Caerphilly, Wales, and owners Brandon Hayden and Amy Salter were later jailed.
Emma Whitfield, Jack’s mother, said the dog attacked her son’s face and neck in the horrific incident.
She said when a paramedic brought out a blanket suddenly she realised he wasn’t going to make it.
But Emma said she tries to remember him going out earlier that day “with his skateboard in his hands” rather than the horror of his final moments.
Speaking to BBC’s Panorama, she said: “They kept saying that they were working on him, they’re working on him.
“And then the paramedic walked away and came back with a blanket and I knew. I can’t say out loud what else I saw because I don’t want other people to have to picture it either.”
She then added: “Every time I shut my eyes I try to tell myself: ‘That’s not the last image that I’ve got of him’. I try and tell myself it was when he shut the door with his skateboard in his hands.”
Emma’s interview comes as part of an investigation which has uncovered how organised crime is moving into the world of dog breeding.
American Bullies are not a banned breed in the UK but have been responsible for a rising number of fatalities in recent months.
Inspector Ian Muttitt, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, told BBC’s Breakfast show today there has been a change in what he had seen in extreme dog breeding.
He said the charity has seen a “huge increase” in complaints in relation to the welfare issues associated with the practice – especially relating to Bullies.
Mr Muttitt said there has been a major rise in the breed appearing in Britain, as well as cropping of their ears as part of a cosmetic redesign, which is illegal but still seen across the UK.
“Obviously the RSPCA’s primary concern is the welfare of the dogs but any breeding that focuses on cosmetics and how the dog looks, rather than, for instance, its temperament or health and welfare, is a real concern to us,” he continued.
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He explained that cutting off a dogs ears is “totally unnecessary” and has a detrimental impact on how the animal interacts with people.
The way these types of dogs are bred to have excessive skin around the face, as well as a flat and shortened nose, could be a reason why they are “prone” to skin conditions and respiratory and mobility issues.