Northamptonshire Police has seen a 17 percent rise in reported dog bite incidents in the last 12 months. Of the 450 incidents, 30 percent have involved children under the age of ten.
These incidents have happened both in the home and in public places and officers are urging people who own dogs to take the necessary steps to ensure their dog is always under control and isn’t placed in a situation where it could cause harm.
Detective Inspector Liam O’Neill from the Force’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit said:
“We’ve seen a significant rise in dog bite incidents, and it’s really concerning that so many children have been harmed in this way. Some of the attacks have been on very young children and could have resulted in fatal consequences.
“Children are vulnerable and deserve to be protected. The owner of the dog has ultimate responsibility that no-one is harmed and that the dog is trained and controlled.
“It’s also important owners are mindful of environmental factors in relation to their dogs - and that parents teach children how to stay safe around dogs, to protect both the child and dog. Research shows that children are far more likely to be bitten by their family dog than any others.
“Safeguarding is at the forefront of police action and our officers won’t hesitate in removing a dog and prosecuting owners who have poor or irresponsible management of their animal.
“If you own or have control of a dog, please remember you are responsible for any damage your dog may commit, and make yourself aware of all the steps you can take to prevent the risk of harm to other people. Being in control of a dangerously out of control animal is serious criminal offence and could result in a custodial sentence.”