Residents reacted with shock on hearing the horrific news of the mauling of an 11-month-old baby on Emily Street, Blackburn this morning.

Jean Dawson, 70, who lives on nearby Belper Street, said: "We had just gone to bed when we heard the sounds of the police cars and looked out the window.

“We saw the officers outside on the street through the curtains. It's a nice neighbourhood and this sort of thing has never happened before.

“It's so sad that this has happened. The dogs around here all tend to be quite nice and there are no problems.

“We went back to bed after an hour but the police were still on the street. Sometimes you hear a dog barking but it is rarely a problem to people."

Shahid Mahmood, 43, who lives on Emily Street, said: "It's horrible what's happened.

“I didn't hear anything last night and the dogs on the street never seem to be a problem.

“It's so sad that a baby has died and it must be horrible for the family. The whole street seems to be shocked by this."

Abdul Patel, 34, who lives in Florence Street, said: "I was coming back from shopping last night around 11pm when I heard a dog barking.

“I thought it was just a normal incident at first but then I saw the police.

“It's absolutely terrible what has happened and it's so sad. I’m shocked to be honest. This is a nice neighbourhood and this sort of thing doesn't happen."

Pendle's MP Andrew Stephenson said: “This horrific incident highlights what has become a widespread concern in Lancashire and the rest of the country for a number of years.

“Dangerous dogs, and occasionally irresponsible owners, can lead to very tragic events, and we are always reading in our newspapers and hearing about cases which can leave families devastated.

“The government has undertaken a range of measures to try to clamp down on dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog owners and are constantly keeping the situation under review because, quite clearly, there is further action that can and should be taken.

“I personally believe that owning a dog can be a real joy but we need to ensure that the breeds people can look after are not inherently dangerous and are properly trained and looked after so that situations like this become far less frequent.”

Mr Stephenson has led calls in Parliament for more effective laws to curb the excesses of dangerous dogs and rogue owners.

The MP spoke out in 2011 after police brought a civil action against the owner of a Staffordshire bull terrier which attacked 10-year-old Joe Pickering in Colne after it had been given strong lager.

Later, police took a civil action against the owner of the dog, James Holmes, after they discovered that Paul Ashworth, the man who gave the dog Stella Artois, could not be prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

The MP has supported calls by postal workers for greater protection against dogs running wild on private land and his mother Ann had the tip of a finger bitten off by a dog while delivering election leaflets in May 2012.