Parents pay tribute to four-month-old baby boy killed in tragic dog attack

Another toddler has been left with "life-changing injuries"

Parents pay tribute to four-month-old baby boy killed in tragic dog attack

Image: Facebook/Essex Police

The parents of a four-month-old boy killed by a dog at a house in Essex have paid tribute to their "beautiful little angel".

Archie Joe Darby died after being attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog in Colchester

The attack happened in Tara Close, Harwich Road, at around 3.10pm on Thursday afternoon.

Police said another boy, the victim’s 22-month-old brother, Daniel-Jay Darby was also bitten has been left with "life-changing injuries".

In a statement the boys' parents said: "Our beautiful sons Archie Joe Darby and Daniel-Jay Darby are so, so loved by us all and were such happy little loveable boys.

"It doesn't seem real that our little Archie Bum has gone to heaven and our little Daniel is in intensive care because of a tragic, tragic incident involving a dog attack.

"We have lost our gorgeous little four-month-old baby and our beautiful 22-month-old boy is currently being treated for his injuries.

"Heaven has gained a beautiful little angel and he will be greatly missed by us all and our other little soldier is still fighting strong.

"Please, please, please can you all respect our privacy at this time."

"This is a tragic incident that Essex police is investigating," said Police Chief Inspector Elliot Judge.

"Specially trained officers are providing support to the family at this difficult time.

"We will not be making any further statement at this time and would ask the media to respect the family's privacy".

The baby was initially taken to Colchester General Hospital with what were described as "life threatening injuries", but he died later.

The dog, reported to be a Staffordshire bull terrier, was taken away from the house by police and has been destroyed with the consent of its owners.

Colchester MP Will Quince expressed his sorrow at the attack.

"So sad to hear of the death of a baby in a dog attack in Colchester, " he tweeted.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his brother now at Colchester Hospital."

Earlier this year, a 22-year-old man died after being attacked by his own dog in the UK.

Call for Bite Prevention Association

Dog expert Nanci Creedon is calling for several measures here in Ireland to avoid similar tragedies.

She wants to see the establishment of a National Dog Bite Prevention Association (NDBPA).

"Currently the enforcement of the Control of Dogs Act lies with the dog wardens. While wardens do their best with extremely limited resources, they have no formal training, there is no protocol for investigating reports of aggressive dogs," she says.

"I strongly believe that the establishment of a National Dog Bite Prevention Association would be a pioneering approach to reducing dog bites, and many other countries would follow suit."

She says the NDBPA would be responsible for bite prevention measures, and would undergo rigorous training, continual development and regular assessment.

She also says a mandatory annual awareness week, where NDBPA members visit schools and educate parents in bite prevention, would be helpful.

"Education can teach children how to assess dogs body language to determine if the dog needs space...Education can teach children what to do if a dog does become aggressive.

"Often children run and shout when afraid of the dog which inevitably leads to the dog chasing, there are many great techniques used to teach children how to respond appropriately, and safely."

And Ms Creedon says there should be a ban on dog ownership for 10 years after being convicted of a violent criminal offence.

"A dog can be used as a weapon in the wrong hands, big or small.

Again, owning a dog is not a right, it is a responsibility. The manner in which a dog is handled and trained can have a massive impact on how that dog then behaves."