Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Calls to No 10 for harsher law on attack dogs

By Justin Davenport, This Is London

Thousands of Londoners today called for tough action to crack down on criminals using dangerous dogs as weapons

A petition of nearly 4,500 names was presented to Downing Street urging stricter sentences for thugs owning so-called "weapon dogs" such as pitbull terriers.
The move is part of a campaign by Kit Malthouse, the Deputy Mayor for Policing, to lobby the Government to bring in tougher legislation on banned dogs. Figures show that a Met police unit which targets dangerous breeds seized 1,072 dogs last year, of which 80 per cent were judged to be illegal.
The unit seized more than 30 times the number of dogs last year than in 2005 and the cost of kennelling the animals has risen to £2.75 million a year.
Now the Mayor's office wants to speed up court action to cut down on kennelling costs and is also urging the Government to extend the law to include dog attacks on private land, particularly to protect people who have to visit homes as part of their work.
Mr Malthouse said the use of dogs as weapons should be punished by tougher sentencing by the courts.
He said: "We've had over 4,000 signatures to our petition calling on the Government to act which proves that people do not feel that enough is being done to protect them.
"The Government needs to act urgently to protect Londoners and their pets from savage attacks by weapon dogs. Unless legislation is toughened up, these attacks will continue.
"Certain breeds are used and trained to be used as weapons and should carry the same penalties as other weapons, such as knives."
The demands come as the number of attacks and injuries caused by dangerous dogs is escalating. Officials believe the number of dogs seized is the tip of the iceberg as police have to concentrate on the most dangerous ones.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has also witnessed an increase in the numbers of dogs being admitted with injuries from fighting. Last year, it took in more than six thousand dogs.
Claire Lambert, whose two-year-old son Maurice was attacked in a Primrose Hill playground by a pitbull breed in 2008, said: "The attack on my son has left a permanent mark, not just on his leg, but also on us as a family. We want our beautiful London parks and open spaces to be a safe place for children."
Seven-year-old Jack Wellstead suffered horrific injuries when he was attacked by a pit bull terrier, and will have to wear a protective garment for two years to help his scars heal.
He was trapped in a hall with a neighbour's pit bull terrier for 10 minutes in Stratford and sustained multiple bites. Part of his skull had to be glued back into place had skin grafts on his feet and thighs, 20 stitches in his wounds and some of his tissue has been removed to stop infection.
His mother Victoria Devlin, 44, said Jack was nearly back to normal after the attack in January but is often frightened when he sees a dog resembling the pit bull that attacked him.
She said: "I think they should ban all dangerous dogs. Jack is not the first victim of them. I didn't even know the dog's owner had a pit bull, we were quite oblivious to it until it happened to him."
Jack is under the care of Mohammed Shibhu, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the Royal London Children's Hospital who operated on victims of the 2005 London Tube and bus suicide bombings.
The dog was destroyed and Ms Devlin said that she has forgiven its owners for the "freak accident". The dog is thought to have been legally owned.
Britain's top vet warned this year that there are more pit bulls in the capital than when the animals were banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act.
The number of dangerous dogs seized by the Met police has risen from 27 in 2004/5 to 1,152 last year. The force is so concerned that a status dog unit has been set up to tackle the problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments and questions.
Be advised that comments are moderated. Not for views, but for content.
Profanity, personal attacks, and spam within comments will result in your comment being rejected.
I, personally, love Pit Bulls as well as all dogs and most animals.
If your comment differs from my feelings or opinions, I will post it anyway, providing it does not include any of the three exceptions listed above.
Same goes for comments that are in harmony with my opinions.
Thank you for participating.