Jaywick dog attack: Family angry at conditions pets kept in

Technology
Esther MartinFamily Handout

The family of a grandmother who was killed after being attacked by dogs have said they are angry at the conditions the animals were kept in.

Esther Martin, 68, was fatally injured inside a home in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, on Saturday afternoon.

Ashley Warren, 39, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences but has been released on conditional police bail until March.

“People complain [about] the dogs; it’s not the dogs”, her family said.

Ms Martin was visiting her 11-year-old grandson at the time, they added.

Essex Police said officers believed she was attacked by two dogs inside a property in Hillman Avenue in the seaside village.

Ashley Warren

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Ms Martin’s daughter Sonia Martin, 47, claimed the animals were unregistered XL bully dogs.

She raised concerns that the two adult dogs and puppies had been “kept penned in a small chalet”.

“How the hell can that be any good for an animal?” said added.

“We’re very angry. People complain [about] the dogs; it’s not the dogs.”

She said her mother, from Woodford Green, in north-east London, was told by the dogs’ owner to intervene with a broom when puppies in the house began fighting.

She believed it was at that point that her mother was attacked.

Mr Warren was the partner of Esther Martin’s late daughter.

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Ms Martin told the BBC on Sunday her nephew “ran out of the house screaming for help” and said some neighbours grabbed spades to try to “fight off” the dogs.

“We’d really like to thank all the neighbours for coming and helping and trying to save my mum’s life,” she added.

“My concern was if my nephew hadn’t run out of the house what could have then happened to him? He’s 11.”

Neighbours had described hearing “screaming”.

Although the family believed the animals were banned XL bully dogs, police have said work to confirm which breed they were would take “some days”.

Acting Det Supt Stuart Truss said: “We’re making good progress in our investigation into Esther’s death.

“It is an investigation with a number of complexities, but we are determined to give Esther’s family the answers they need.”

Police at the scene in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick-on-Sea, on Monday, 5 February

Shaun Whitmore/BBC

Ms Martin said the family were aware the dog’s owner had previously had to move due to complaints from neighbours about the dogs.

The dog’s owner is a rapper who had previously used the dogs in music videos, Ms Martin added.

Essex Police said: “A number of puppies were safely removed from the address and have received appropriate veterinary care.

“The puppies will formulate part of our investigation.”

Conservative MP for Clacton Giles Watling told BBC Essex he was “absolutely horrified” to hear about the incident.

What are XL bully dogs and what is the law?

An XL bully is the largest kind of American bully dog. Other types include standard, pocket and classic.

The government described them as large dogs “with a muscular body and blocky head, suggesting great strength and power for [their] size”.

In England and Wales, the breed has been added to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. It means breeding, selling or abandoning them is illegal.

Certificate of Exemption, allowing owners to keep their XL bullies, can no longer be applied for, and the government guidance says owners without a certificate should contact their local police force.

Dogs covered by a certificate must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

Scotland has also announced a ban, which will come into force later in the year.

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