A LEADING regional newspaper has launched a hard-hitting campaign against dangerous dogs and their owners, following complaints of anti-social behaviour involving dog fights and intimidation by the dogs’ owners.
The Liverpool Echo’s Bite Back campaign, established recently, to clampdown on irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs is getting support from readers and Merseyside MPs.
The Echo launched the campaign after receiving complaints from readers that yobs with dangerous animals were trying to set up ‘prize fights’ in local parks.
Merseyside police seized ten dogs in four weeks in a recent crackdown – and the Echo got on board soon after with its campaign.
The police found certain breeds of dogs, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Rottweilers have been targeted by the yobs because of their underserved reputation for having a hostile nature.
Now the Echo’s readers and MPs alike are calling for tougher laws and harsher fines for those who set their animals on other pets - or those who allow their animals to attack innocent people in the street.
The campaign harkens back to the darkest days of the early 1990s when the Dangerous Dogs Act was in its infancy and many newspapers launched similar campaigns calling for progressively harsher sanctions against so-called ‘dangerous breeds’.
The Echo’s campaign is calling for:
Compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs, so owners can be easily traced and cannot deny a particular dog belongs to them;
Life bans for anyone convicted of owning a dangerous dog; l An assessment centre for the North West so vicious animals can be quickly studied and deemed officially dangerous.
Peter Bolton, an animal welfare manager for the RSPCA, said: ‘Dogs are usually social animals. They do not go around wanting to kill each other.
‘The animals involved in these attacks have not been trained in a normal environment.’
A number of Echo readers from across Merseyside have also sent a clear message to Home Secretary John Reid voicing their concerns that current laws are not working – or at least not being enforced properly by police.
The newspaper claims that in light of the message sent out by Echo readers the Home Secretary has agreed to consider changing the law, if sufficient evidence is available.