A PARLIAMENTARY candidate has criticised the sentence on a woman whose dog attacked and killed a child.

Jade Dunne was given a suspended sentence after her dog killed three-year-old Dexter Neal in Halstead.

James Cleverly, who has is standing as the Conservative candidate in Braintree, began working towards changing the Dangerous Dogs Act legislation while he was an MP.

Following Dunne’s sentencing, Mr, Cleverly has said he will keep pushing for a change in the law.

He said: “Obviously with a General Election that’s put a hold on all the things I have been discussing with the Secretary of State for DEFRA, Andrea Leadsom.

"It’s something I will keep plugging away at, it’s clearly not doing quite what we want it to do.

"With the American bulldog, that’s not on the Dangerous Dogs Act so clearly there are issues around that.”

Mr Cleverly has previously said he is sympathetic to calls to remove the breed specific element of the legislation, as any medium to large breed could cause harm.

But he agreed with advice from police that the ban on owning a pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo argentina or fila braziliero should remain in place.

Discussing Dunne’s sentence, he added: “It strikes me that for something which has taken the life of a young person, it seems to be sending out a message that it’s not as harshly punished as something like death by dangerous driving.

“I worry the message it sends out is we don’t take this as seriously as we would do other actions that cause the death of a child.

“We have already had one life lost and a family torn apart.

"I’m not suggesting we should ruin another person’s life with an excessively harsh sentence, but it seems to be this isn’t as strong a signal to dog owners that this is serious.”

  • Other candidates in the constituency are Richard Bingley (UKIP), Malcolm Fincken (Labour), Thomas Pashby (Green) and Peter Turner (Lib Dems).