The dog which attacked and killed its owner in Preston on New Year’s Day was not a banned breed, police have confirmed.
Officers say the pet, called Trigger, which was destroyed hours after mauling 22-year-old Liam Hewitson, was a male pit bull cross and not illegal.
It has been revealed Liam was having an epileptic fit at the time and that may have caused the animal to attack him at home in Dundonald Street, off New Hall Lane.
He suffered severe facial and neck injuries and died at the scene despite efforts by paramedics to save his life.
Police say Liam’s family have been devastated by his death and have asked to be allowed to grieve in private.
In a statement, issued through Lancashire Constabulary, the family said: “Liam was a happy lad who was always smiling and had lots of friends.
“He had a beautiful personality and he will be missed by his dad Phil, girlfriend Jess and sisters Melissa and Aleisha and brother Cordell.”
A police spokesman said: “The family have asked to be given some privacy as they have been through a truly horrific experience and they are all still very much in shock.”
The tragedy happened around 3.45pm on New Year’s Day.
Paramedics battled to save Liam, but his injuries were too serious.
Police called to the terraced house took the dog away and it was put down by a local vet later. The animal was around five or six years old and Liam had owned it since it was a puppy.
Police say they are treating the incident as a “tragic accident” and there is no criminal investigation.
A file will be passed to the coroner in due course.
News of Liam’s death prompted a huge outpouring of grief with dozens of floral tributes and candles being left outside the house in Dundonald Street throughout the weekend. There was also a message in white letters reading: “RIP Shakey XX.”
Friends and family set up a special Facebook page called “RIP Liam Hewitson. Gone But Never Forgotten. Rest In Paradise.”
One of the tributes on there from Alessia Gigliotti in Italy said: “I just came to know about what happened to this poor guy...all my condolences to his family and a very big hug from Italy. RIP.”
Another, Julia Kingdon, wrote: “Shocking news. Such a tragic waste of young life.”
Liam’s cousin, Josh Tattersall, said: “Rest in paradise. Gunna miss ya big cuz, but ur never forgotten.”
And in a message to Liam’s girlfriend Jessica Hill, a friend wrote: “ Love you Jessica, here always, hope your ok xx.”