Parents with killer dogs are having their children taken into care rather than being forced to remove the dangerous pets from their home, it has been revealed.

Four young children were taken into care in just one month over fears they could be mauled to death by their family dogs.

Three of them were from one family in Walsall, West Midlands and the fourth was a baby from Bristol, according to The Sun.

Claude Knights of the charity Kidscape said: "If dogs are dangerous they should be removed, rather than taking kids from families. Children's needs should always be first."

Leicester social workers also removed a baby and children aged two and five because of dog excrement in their home.

Dangerous dogs have caused numerous deaths of children and young people in the UK. Six-day-old Eliza-Mae Mullane died after a pet dog dragged her from her pram and bit her in Pontyberem, South Wales, in February. An inquest heard the girl's mother, Sharon, placed her in the pram in the lounge just for a few moments' while sending her son off in a taxi to school.

Last November Lexi Branson, four, was also mauled to death by a bulldog in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire and 14-year-old Jade Lamos-Anderson died from her injuries after being attacked by two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

The British Association of Social Workers said dog fear cases were a small percentage of the 30,000 children put in care each year.

It added: "We don't have the power to move animals."