Liverpool pensioner killed in dog attack despite warning to council


A Liverpool woman says she reported 2 dangerous dogs to council wardens 1 hour before a pensioner was fatally attacked.

Selina Hagan contacted Liverpool City Council after the dogs tried to enter her Clubmoor home where she was looking after her 18-month-old grandchild. However, Mrs Hagan was advised that wardens were "too busy" and that they would not be able to attend for 4 hours.

Approximately 1 hour after Mrs Hagan's call, 1 of the dogs fatally attacked Clifford Clarke, 79, in his garden. The animal, said by neighbours to be a bull mastiff crossed with a Staffordshire bull terrier, leapt at the retired hospital porter as he stepped from his back door.

The dogs are believed to have been attracted to Mr Clarke's property by the aroma of food.

Mrs Hagan, 59, said: "I rang the wardens over an hour before it happened at 7.29pm on Saturday, telling them [the dogs] were going mad trying to get into our conservatory.

"[The wardens] weren't interested. We were told it would be 4 hours until they arrived. I called again an hour later to say it was too late."

Mrs Hagan says she is formally complaining following Liverpool City Council's denial of responsibility.

In a statement, the authority insisted its animal warden department received a report from a resident concerning 2 stray dogs in her garden at 7.39pm. According to Mrs Hagan, the call was made some time before.

A council spokesperson said the incident was "shocking and distressing" and that its thoughts are with Mr Clarke's family and friends.

"We are working with Merseyside Police to assist their investigation," the spokesperson said. "Wardens were in the process of making their way to the property within the 2-hour response period when they received a further call from the resident at 8.42pm to say the animals had left.

"Police then informed the wardens they were… dealing with a serious incident involving a dog."

Following the attack, 2 women who lived next door to Mr Clarke were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. They have since been bailed pending further inquiries.

The incident was the 2nd dog-related fatality in the last 2 months. In March, 14 year-old Jade Anderson died after being savaged by 2 Staffordshire bull terriers and 2 bull mastiffs at a house near Wigan.

In relation to Jade's death, police say they cannot take action since the attack occurred on private property. However, Mr Clarke was on his own property to which the dog was forbidden access: an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Mr Clarke's death has prompted his brother, Kenny, to call for tougher laws for dog owners.

"He did not deserve this so please put your support behind new laws for dog owners because you would not like any of your loved ones to have this happen to them."

News Archive

Get In Touch