THE battle for stricter dog laws following the death of an Atherton schoolgirl has been debated in Parliament.

Bolton West MP Julie Hilling led a debate about dangerous dogs on Wednesday following the death of 14-year-old Jade Anderson in March.

Ms Hilling told MPs that Jade was killed by dogs after being allowed to stay over at a friend’s house as a reward for a good school report.

“It was a treat that ended in tragedy when Jade returned to the house alone and was savaged by four dogs,” she said.

As the 30-minute debate continued, Ms Hilling admitted the exact details of what happened on March 26 may never be known because Jade had died alone.

However, she said it was clear the owner of the four dogs – which were all shot by police marksmen – would not be prosecuted under the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act because it applied only to certain breeds and not to incidents that take place on private property.

“It does seem an absolute nonsense to me that one of the first acts the police had to undertake was to test the dogs’ DNA to see if it contained that of a banned breed,” said Ms Hilling.

“We should have legislation that reflects the deed of a dog and not its breed.”

Fred Longworth High School pupil Jade was attacked by two Staffordshire bull terriers and two bull mastiffs.

The death sparked a public outcry and the Government has announced plans to overhaul Britain’s 25-year-old dog ownership laws, making it an offence for dogs to attack someone on private property.

Ms Hilling welcomed the move, but said the proposals did not go far enough.

She called for Dog Control Notices – already used in Northern Ireland and Scotland – to be introduced across the UK.

“Their existence would provide a swift, flexible and proportionate way to deal with irresponsible dog owners,” she said.

“They would act as an early warning system and action could be taken to promote responsible ownership and not just prosecuting owners after a tragedy has taken place.”