THE mother of an East Lancashire MP is recovering in hospital after a dog bit off the tip of her finger while she was delivering election leaflets.
Surgeons were last night performing plastic surgery on Ann Stephenson, mother of Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, after the attack at a house in The Crescent, Colne.
Now the MP is supporting calls for a major reform to dangerous dogs legislation and greater protection for postal workers, paper boys and girls and all kinds of leafletters.
Because the incident happened on private property, any action taken against the dog’s owner will remain a civil matter rather than a criminal case.
Mrs Stephenson, who comes from Cheshire, said: “There was no warning notice on the gate or the house – it was quite a shock.
“I was just pushing the leaflet through the door when the dog bit the end of my finger. It took the whole nail off and the tip of my finger.
“Luckily my husband Malcolm was delivering next door and we were able to get to the hospital quite quickly.”
Initially Mrs Stephenson was assessed at Burnley General Hospital but was later transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital, which has a specialist department for skin grafts.
MP Mr Stephenson said the attack, which happened around 12.30pm on Tuesday, was reported to Lancashire Police, but will not lead to a criminal investigation .
Mr Stephenson said: “I have been critical of the law relating to dangerous dogs a number of times before, which I believe fails to protect the public.
“Indeed I called for changes in the law in February after meeting the Police Federation, the National Dog Warden Association and the RSPCA.
“Something must be done to protect the postal workers, volunteers and the public from dangerous dogs and remind owners of their responsibilities.
“I would like to thank everyone who has sent my mother their best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
He also thanked staff at both hospitals and Burnley General’s Age UK volunteers for looking after his mother.
The MP has been backed by leaders of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which has confirmed that an average of 12 postal workers a day suffer dog bite attacks.
CWU spokesman Sian Jones said: “There is a giant loophole in the dangerous dogs legislation we want to see addressed.
“You can be on a pavement, one step outside a property, and be protected by the law. But if you take one step inside the property, you have no protection.”
Pendle police Insp Phil Davies confirmed the matter had been reported to officers who were in the process of visiting the property to offer the dog owner advice.
No one could be contacted at the house to comment.