XL Bully dog that mauled professional dog walker as he collapsed and died in park is destroyed by police
- Ian ‘Wiggy’ Symes, 34, died after being mauled by an XL Bully dog in Hampshire
- Dog walker believed to have collapsed before being pronounced dead at scene
- Hampshire Police today revealed the XL Bully dog responsible was put down
- A 20-year-old man was previously arrested but was released without charge
An XL Bully which mauled a professional dog walker after he was believed to have collapsed and died in a park has been destroyed by police, it was revealed today.
Ian ‘Wiggy’ Symes, 34, who is understood to have been walking the controversial breed himself at a recreation ground in Fareham, Hampshire, died at the scene following the horrific attack.
His devastated family said he was out dog walking and ‘doing something he loved’ when he died at the field in Fareham, Hampshire, in August.
Locals claimed that Mr Symes may have collapsed and had a seizure before the dog he was with ‘ate’ part of his face while launching its attack.
Hampshire Police had previously arrested a 20 year-old man from Fareham on suspicion of being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death.
But the police, who put down the XL Bully today, revealed the 20-year-old had been released without charge.
The force said that they had completed their investigation into his death and would not be pursuing a criminal case.
Ian ‘Wiggy’ Symes, 34, is believed to have collapsed and died while walking an XL Bully dog at a recreation ground in Fareham, Hampshire, in August
Hampshire Police have revealed today that the XL Bully responsible for Mr Symes’ death was destroyed. (File image)
His devastated family said he was out dog walking and ‘doing something he loved’ when he died at the field in Fareham, Hampshire
A spokesman said: ‘Ian Symes, who was known as ‘Wiggy’ to friends and family, was pronounced dead at the recreation ground on Hillson Drive in Fareham after Police and South Central Ambulance Service were alerted to a concern for welfare call at 10:25am.
‘As part of our enquiries a 20 year-old man from Fareham was arrested on suspicion of being the owner/person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death.
‘Following our investigation he has been released without charge and will face no further action.
‘A dog was also secured and removed from the scene. The XL Bully was subsequently destroyed.
Mr Symes, also from Fareham, had owned Rottweilers in the past and photographs on social media show him smiling lovingly with his pets
‘Mr Symes’ death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will now be prepared for the Coroner.’
After the dog walker’s death, a man who lives close to the field said he saw Mr Symes with a ‘muscly’ dog just minutes before the attack.
‘I saw him with an evil type of dog that was really muscly walking past. It’s horrible what happened,’ he said.
A female resident added: ‘He always had a dog with him. He was good with dogs and would help train them.
‘I saw him the night before it happened with a big dog that had no muzzle on.’
The 34-year-old man died after being mauled by a dog on Hillson Drive, Fareham in Hampshire (located in picture)
Third death involving Bully XL dog breed
In March this year Bella-Rae Birch, a 17-month-old girl, was killed by an XL Bully dog. The toddler had been attacked in her family’s home in St Helens, Merseyside, just a week after they bought the animal.
Bella-Rae Birch, pictured, was mauled to death by an American Bully dog
Also this year, Joanne Robinson was mauled to death by her pet American Bully XL dog after it ‘turned mad in the extreme heat’. The 43-year-old died at the scene of the attack at a house in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Joanne Robinson was mauled to death
Last year Welsh schoolboy Jack Lis was also killed in a savage attack by a Bully XL. The 10-year-old boy was playing at a friend’s house in Caerphilly in November last year when he was set upon by the dog.
Jack Lis, 10, was mauled to death by a killer XL Bully dog
Meanwhile, a mother who lives near the recreation ground said those who were first on the scene found Mr Symes had suffered horrific facial injuries.
The woman, who was in the park to do some photography with her young daughter at the time, said: ‘We were in the park before the police arrived.
‘He was a very helpful man. He used to come around and offer to do jobs like gardening. He used to walk people’s dogs for them as well. It sounds like a tragic accident.’
Mr Symes, also from Fareham, had owned Rottweilers in the past and photographs on social media show him smiling lovingly with his pets.
His death shocked friends and family who later laid flowers at the scene.
The American Bully got recognition as a breed from US United Kennel Club in 2013. It has been described as a ‘natural extension’ of the better known American Pit Bull Terrier.
These dogs have been crossbred with other muscular breeds including English Bulldogs and American Bulldogs.
XL refers the the dog’s size category, of which there are four: pocket, standard, classic and XL.
Cards left with flowers at the scene paid fond tribute to Mr Symes.
One said: ‘Remembering the fondest memories of growing up together. It won’t be the same round here with out you. Keep on strutting, lots of love.’
Another said: ‘Shine bright you beautiful human being. Fly high Wiggy. Always in my heart and never forgotten. All my love forever and a day.’
It followed a spate of dog maulings including mother-of-two Joanne Robinson who was mauled to death by her pet American Bully XL dog after it ‘turned mad in the extreme heat’ a month before.
The 43-year-old died at the scene of the attack at a house in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
She is understood to have been the owner of the animal, called Rocco, which is on the legal dog breeds list.
A three-year-old girl also suffered life-changing injuries in Hampshire in August after being bitten by a Doberman dog.
The dog was seized by police and a 44-year-old woman was arrested in relation to the attack.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans or restricts certain types of dogs and makes it an offence to allow a dog of any breed to be dangerously out of control.
It was introduced 30 years ago by Home Secretary Kenneth Baker ‘to rid the country of the menace of these fighting dogs’ after a string of attacks.
It is illegal to own four breeds of dogs without an exemption from a court. They are:
- American pitbull terriers;
- Japanese tosas;
- Dogo Argentinos;
- Fila Brazileiro
The law also criminalises cross-breeds of the above four types of dog – meaning that whether a dog is prohibited will depend on a judgement about its physical characteristics, and whether they match the description of a prohibited ‘type’.
You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months if your dog is dangerously out of control.
You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.
If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to five years or fined. If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.
And if you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine.
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