A mother-of-two who was mauled to death by her pet American Bully XL dog while her partner was left with life-changing injuries has been pictured.
The woman, who has been named locally as Joanne Robinson, died at the scene of the attack at a house in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, on Friday night.
The 43-year-old is understood to have been the owner of the animal, called Rocco, which is on the legal dog breeds list and attacked her at around 10pm.
She is believed to be the third victim of a legal breed which has killed two tots, it has been revealed.
Her partner, Jamie Stead, 42, was left with injuries to his hands, stomach and face as he tried to saved her and pull the animal off her.
Joanne’s mother, Dotty Robinson, said the family are in ‘disbelief and shock’ over her death.
‘I want everyone to know how well loved she was,’ she said. ‘She was born and bred in this village. They all know her and love her.’
She told The Sun that Rocco – who was nearly two and another dog owned by Joanne and her partner, a Bully XL called Lola, have been destroyed.
Floral tributes have been placed on metal railings outside the house while neighbours have spoken of their shock and horror.
One heart-breaking message read: ‘To our beautiful angel up above. You will never be forgotten. Love you always.’
Neighbour John Allerton, 69, a retired miner, said: ‘It’s really really tragic.’
Another friend said: ‘I’m devastated. She was a lovely lady. They are a lovely family.’
The police took away two dogs. One man, who said he was the couple’s son, said, ‘I can assure you that the dogs were treated well.’
There have been numerous incidents involving Bully XL dogs, with police confirming in march that Bella-Rae Birch, a 17-month-old girl, was killed by one in her own home.
Police said the toddler was attacked at her family’s home in St Helens, Merseryside, a week after they bought the dog.
It was also reported that a Bully XL mauled Welsh schoolboy Jack Lis to death in a savage attack last year.
Floral tributes have been left to the mother, with neighbours describing her as a ‘lovely lady’.
Cards and flowers have gathered outside the home where the couple lived, including a note from her children Elle, 24 and Dillon, 19, which read: ‘Mum I love and miss you.’
South Yorkshire Police says two dogs have been seized and removed from the property, and neither of these are on the banned breeds list.
The force said neither are considered ‘banned breeds’ under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
A statement from the force said: ‘We were called to a property on Masefield Road in West Melton at about 10.15pm last night by a member of the public stating a dog had attacked himself and a woman.
‘Officers attended with a Yorkshire Ambulance [Service] crew and found a man, aged 42, with a potentially life-altering injury to one hand, plus injuries to his other hand, abdomen and face. He was transported to hospital for further treatment.
‘The woman, aged 43, had been fatally bitten and despite the best efforts of emergency crews was sadly pronounced deceased at the scene.
‘The dog, plus another dog at the property, were secured by specially trained officers. Neither dog was of a banned breed.’
According to the UK Bully Kennel Club website, the American Bully XL is a large breed, with males standing between 51cm and above.
The Club says: ‘In spite of its considerable size, the XL is highly prized for not only its impressive stature, but also its gentle personality and loving nature.
‘It is a recent breed, dating back to the 1980’s, and is regarded the distinctive build and height combined with a compassionate nature mean its popularity continues to grow.’
RSPCA is linking the the increase in Britons buying puppies during Covid to a surge in fatal dog attacks.
Reports from the Dog and Cat Behaviour Association show dog attacks increased by 54 per cent between 2020 and 2021.