Experts reveal 3 trends fuelling rise in deadly dog attacks in the UK


A leading academic warned that a TikTok trend could be one of the reasons there has been a spike in the number of fatal dog attacks in recent years.

Last month, Natasha Johnston was mauled to death while walking a number of dogs in Caterham, while four-year-old Alice Stones was killed in the back garden of her family home in Milton Keynes on Tuesday, according to Express.

Between 2001 and 2021, the average number of dog-related deaths in the UK sat at 3.3.

Little Bella-Rae Birch was just 17 months old when she was killed after suffering serious injuries from a bite caused by an American Bully XL breed

But in 2022, the number shot up with 10 people killed by dogs. And some experts believe this could be linked to a change in the way humans interact with dogs now.

According to reports, the number of adults needing hospital treatment for dog bites has tripled in the last two decades.

And while the number of dogs in the UK has increased, this is not enough to account for this huge jump in numbers.

Dr John Tulloch, a vet and epidemiologist at the University of Liverpool who authored a 2021 research paper that revealed a startling rise in the number of dog bite incidents over the past 20 years.

Muscles bulging, this is the dog nicknamed ‘Beast’ that took seven rounds to kill after mauling schoolboy Jack Lis to death

Merseyside has the highest number of dog-bite-related incidents, along with Wakefield, Middlesbrough and the north east generally, with London having the lowest.

Tulloch said: ‘On the whole, the shared common feature is that they are areas with high levels of social deprivation.’

And with an increase in the number of young people using social media sites like TikTok, misinformation could be to blame for the way we interact with our pets.

Jack Lis was attacked by the XL bully dog while playing with a friend at a house after school in Pentwyn

Rosie Bescoby, a clinical animal behaviourist, said unqualified dog trainers offering advice on TikTok could be fuelling aggression ‘because they give a kind of DIY approach to potentially quite dangerous problems’.

There have been videos recommending choke chains as a training method, something which is used when owners mistake anxiety or stress-related behaviours for defensiveness.

Instead, she said the tactic creates a ‘ticking time bomb’ where the animal can only suppress its reaction for so long before ‘we get the explosion’.

Dr Tulloch said social media has altered our relationships with our pets and he often comes across videos where the animals are looking stressed.

She said: ‘There was a recent trend, for example, of people staring into their dog’s eyes for as long as they possibly could.

‘And in all of those videos, the dogs were looking really, really uncomfortable. And it would not have surprised me if any of those videos had ended in someone being bitten.’

Alice Stones, four, was pronounced dead at the scene after being seriously injured in the attack in the back garden of her home in Broadlands, Netherfield

Dr Tulloch also warned of putting babies in dogs beds as parents could risk upsetting the pet and putting their child at risk if the animal feels threatened.

‘When a dog bites, it’s the “last resort”, Dr Tulloch said. It’s likely the dog will have shown warning signs it’s anxious or uncomfortable.

She added: ‘It could be smacking its lips or showing the whites of its eyes, or sort of further down the line would be showing its teeth.’

Dog behaviourist and clinical animal behaviour student Kyra Algazi-Floden told Daily Mail: ‘Ideally, dog breeding should be under stricter regulation.’I think that many people just don’t know enough about dogs before taking one.

The children’s energy is different compared to adults with dogs, they have a faster pace and make more sudden movements which can frighten the dog.

‘The first 4-8 months of raising a puppy are very important. It is not advisable to leave small children unsupervised with dogs.

‘We should be looking at what owners are doing wrong with their dogs, not the dog.

Celebrities including Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock have been criticised for adopting dogs with cut ears, a procedure banned in the United Kingdom

‘Puppies need the right amount of exercise, food, sleep, socialisation and care. Puppies that have not been bred and raised under the right circumstances will have fewer copings mechanism in life which could for example make them more redrawn or aggressive.’

The shock research comes after a spate of fatal dog attacks in 2022, which saw a record ten people killed.

Four of those killed in deadly dog attacks were children, with the case of schoolboy Jack Lis shocking the nation after he was mauled by a near-7st Bully XL dog called ‘Beast’.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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