A LONDON mayor has reportedly said that she hoped to enact Breed Specific Legislation in her borough when she spoke out against ‘dangerous dogs’, causing anger amongst responsible dog owners by citing normally affable and popular breeds as being the choice for yobs.
According to Councillor Bertha Joseph, the Mayor of the London Borough of Brent, dogs are being increasingly used as ‘lethal weapons’ by youths, who parade the streets and public parks, evoking fear in the hearts of people going about their daily business,
According to Mayor Joseph, her borough will be leading a campaign calling for an overhaul of the Dangerous Dogs Act and have suggested a number of by-laws aimed at forcing dog-handlers to be more accountable and responsible.
The mayor said she hoped to make it harder for anyone who wished to own a dog and suggested there should be a law requiring individuals wishing to own a dog to be vetted by the authorities. ‘If we have such deterrents in the first place, there will be fewer people so keen to acquire these lethal weapons.’
The mayor, who presides over one of the largest boroughs in the UK, said Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Mastiffs and other dog breeds are ‘once again becoming the accessory and occasionally the weapon of choice on Britain’s urban streets.’
She described the typical new breed of owner as young men, aged between 15 and 22. She said: ‘Their typical purpose for having the dog is to gain respect, to intimidate, to use as a form of protection and sometimes for crime. These dogs can be lethal when out of control and the consequences can be fatal.’
Referring to a recent interview of two owners of pit bull dogs on the BBC Newsnight programme, following the death of five year-old Ellie Lawrenson, who was killed by a pit bull-type dog in Merseyside on New Year’s Day, the mayor said she found the comments made by one of the owners ‘disturbing’.
Mayor Joseph said: ‘He said he bought the dog for its fighting mentality and that it bites people, he told the programme ‘I won’t carry a knife or gun, I’ll just set my dog on them’.’
The mayor said as early as November last year, she read a statement to the council ‘expressing concerns’ with ongoing dog attacks in Brent following an increase in dog ownership.
She said the breeding of dogs will continue and ‘is likely to get out of control if we do not address this problem now.’
The proposed amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act was debated last week by the council’s 63 councillors, and is to be followed by an executive meeting before a petition is taken to 10 Downing Street.