A big increase in dog fighting on Merseyside has fuelled a growing number of people being savaged, particularly children, a doctor has claimed.
The shocking figures were revealed by a plastic surgeon at Alder Hey and Whiston hospitals, which have treated 460 victims this year.
The consultant, Christian Duncan, blames the "massive increase" in the number of fighting dogs imported into Liverpool.
And of the 332 children bitten last year, the average age was just six-and-a-half. He described the bites as "truly shocking", and said he comes across life-threatening injuries at least once a year.
Mr Duncan said: "I was involved in one case some time ago where a five-year-old girl was attacked by two bull mastiffs. They basically tore her apart."
He said there was no doubt the number of so-called "dangerous dogs" was increasing. "Certain types are being used as a fashion accessory or as a way to boost status or intimidate people."
A Merseyside police spokesman said: "We are continually working to encourage responsible dog ownership and will continue to take positive action against offenders.
"We have a robust policy for dealing with dogs and are being looked at nationally as offering best practice in this area."
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Katrina Elsey from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Using dogs to intimidate or attack is serious and people found responsible could be prosecuted. If you or someone you know has suffered injury as a result of a dog attack you may be entitled to compensation."