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‘Mersey Bite’ goes on

MERSEYSIDE POLICE, acting in cooperation with the RSPCA are ‘cracking down’ on so-called dangerous dogs. One animal has been seized and 14 verbal warnings have been issued to owners deemed to be acting irresponsibly.

The action, called Operation Dogsafe, comes after reports of dog attacks in the Liverpool and Greater Merseyside areas sparked the interest of council authorities. According to the police, the message is clear: ‘Anyone who sees a dog attack is asked to contact police.’

As reported previously, the Liverpool Echo newspaper launched a hard-hitting campaign against dangerous dogs and their owners, following complaints of anti-social behaviour involving dogfights and intimidation by the dogs’ owners.

The Echo’s Bite Back campaign gained support from readers and Merseyside MPs and led directly to the police and local authority establishing Operation Dogsafe.

The operation involves police dog handlers patrolling parks and housing estates looking for irresponsible dog owners. The emphasis is firmly on tackling irresponsible dog owners rather than generalising certain breeds of dog. Despite this however, a police sergeant pointed out that certain ‘high risk’ breeds were being ‘recorded’ on a database

Sgt Lol Hanley of Merseyside Police told the local media: ‘There has been a notable reduction in dog-related incidents across the whole area and we will continue to patrol key spots to ensure this progress is continued,’ said Sgt Hanley.

‘Along with our partner agencies, dogs believed to be high-risk breeds are being recorded onto a central database to ensure an intelligence-driven, co-ordinated response is taken to dog-related incidents.

‘Anyone who sees a dog acting dangerously in a public place, or who believes a dog to be out of control, is asked to contact the police.’

Last week, it was reported that an 11-year-old girl had been attacked by a dog in the area of Toxteth.