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Police are urging dog owners to keep control of their pets after a spate of incidents over recent weeks, where children have suffered horrific injuries.
These have happened both in the home and in public places and officers are sending out a strong message – please take the necessary steps to ensure your dog isn’t placed in a situation where it could cause harm.
Dog ownership has increased during the lockdown and combined with Covid restrictions and tensions in some homes, there has been a corresponding increase in dog bite incidents.
Between July and October this year there were 118 dog-related crimes in the county, compared with 90 for the same period last year. These incidents relate to dogs causing injuries in public or private places and owners allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public or private place.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Lawson, head of child protection for the force said: “We have seen very young children suffering some dreadful injuries. These incidents are horrific but they are often avoidable.
“I can’t stress this enough – if you own or have control of a dog, please make yourself aware of all the steps you can take to prevent the risk of harm to other people.
“Be mindful of your surroundings and remember, you are responsible for any damage your dog may commit.
“You can minimise these risks, both at home and in public. The RSPCA has produced some great simple steps along with a video (link below) to educate dog owners and parents on how to keep children safe and dogs happy.”
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, in England and Wales, it is a criminal offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control – both if the dog injures someone or makes someone believe the dog would injure them.
Serious incidents can be taken to court and may result in a prison sentence and a confiscation order for the pet.