A police officer guards the house in Atherton where Jade Anderson was found dead.
A police officer guards the house in Atherton where Jade Anderson was found dead.

Girl, 14, found dead after being attacked by four dogs

A 14-YEAR-old girl died today after what was believed to be an attack by four dangerous and "out of control" dogs.

Greater Manchester Police said officers had been confronted by the aggressive dogs - believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers - when they responded to reports of an unconscious girl at a property in the Hagford Estate, Atherton, yesterday afternoon.

The girl, named as Jade Anderson, was visiting the property between Wigan and Manchester. Nobody else was present during the attack. She is thought to have lived nearby.

Detectives said the dogs, which were destroyed by armed officers shortly after 2pm, would be examined as part of the investigation. A fifth dog was inside the house.

"First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family of the girl who has tragically lost her life. Specialist officers are offering them every support," said Greater Manchester Police Superintendent Mark Kenny.

He added: "While our inquiries to find out what happened are ongoing, this girl's injuries are consistent with her having been attacked by dogs. I understand this is an extremely distressing incident for all concerned, including the community, and we will work hard to establish the full circumstances that led to this tragedy."

The attack is likely to fuel a debate about control of potentially dangerous dogs in the same way as when four-year-old John Paul Massey was killed by a violent family dog in Liverpool in 2009.

Only two months ago the Government was criticised for its inaction on dog attack and animal welfare when a cross-party committee of MPs said current laws "comprehensively failed" to deal with the issue of irresponsible dog ownership.

The Coalition's proposals to introduce mandatory microchipping in England were described as "woefully inadequate" by the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in February.

Speaking to The Independent, the area's Labour MP, Julie Hilling, for Bolton West, said the attack should prompt moves to "strengthen the law" around dangerous dogs on social housing estates.

"Clearly there are real problems with dangerous dogs and we need to have stronger legislation to control these animals when they are in private property. This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with the family," said Ms Hilling.

The estate is run by Wigan and Lee Housing, a private company that manages Wigan Council's 22,600-strong social housing stock. Wigan Council was unavailable for comment tonight.

Jade was a pupil in Year Nine at the arts and applied learning college, Fred Longworth High School, in Tyldesley.

According to postings on Facebook tonight she had allegedly been staying at a friend's house.

"She was staying at her friend's and it's the families dogs who attacked," wrote one user. Another described Jade as "beautiful angel".

A post mortem examination to establish the cause of death was expected to take place last night.

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