Suffolk: Number of reported dangerous dog attacks doubles in four years
- Credit: PA
DANGEROUS dog attacks in Suffolk have nearly doubled in four years, we can reveal.
According to new figures, 529 offences relating to dogs have been reported to police since 2008.
The data, from a Freedom of Information request, includes dangerous dogs causing injury in a public place and owners allowing dogs to enter places and cause injury.
Incidents have increased from 73 in 2008 to 132 last year, and as of the beginning of March, 21 dangerous dog offences have been reported this year.
The news comes as proposals to toughen the Dangerous Dogs Act are due to be outlined in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday.
It is believed proposals will include closing a loophole in the law which prevents owners being prosecuted if their dogs attack while on private property.
Suffolk Constabulary has a section dedicated to handling dangerous dogs and each case is dealt with individually.
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A spokesman said: “Each case is judged on its merits and if called to an incident we would assess whether the dog was a danger to the public or an illegal breed and take the appropriate action.
“The dog section for Norfolk and Suffolk has three trained dog legislation officers (DLOs) who cover both counties and are operational handlers who are trained and qualified to identify and handle prohibited and dangerous dogs.”
Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said poorly-trained dogs can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
She added: “We would like to see a higher level of public education to educate dog owners of all ages about responsible ownership to help ensure that as many people as possible are aware of the commitment and responsibility of owning any kind of dog.
“It is oversimplifying the matter to conclude that as the numbers increase these reflect an increase in aggression in dogs.”
Between September 2011 and January 2013, Suffolk police officers seized 12 dangerous dogs and 10 were kennelled under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The RSPCA is calling for urgent reform to the country’s “flawed” dog control legislation.
A spokeswoman said: “We believe, like many other animal welfare organisations, that the key is not to legislate against specific breeds, but instead to focus legislation on the actions of irresponsible owners.
“Deed not breed remains the mantra by which we stand.”