Dangerous dogs- what’s the real cost to our communities?

Date published: 24 March 2023 13:39
Dated: 02 February 2023 13:41:18

We are a nation of dog lovers, and they bring such happiness to our lives and families, but for some people dogs in communities brings fear, concern and in some cases serious injury and fatality.

During 2022 our officers dealt with just over 1,400 incidents relating to dangerous, out of control dogs, or those who have caused injury or harm to people or other animals.

We are leading the way in prevention and education around dangerous dogs, but as with all crimes and problems, we are stronger with our communities, and we’re asking for your help to create a safer place for all.

Dog Liaison Officer PC Paul Jameson explains more, he said: “People think we’re uncaring and that any dogs reported to us, or seized by us will be put to sleep, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We love dogs, officers within our team own dogs and we understand how they’re part of the family, but it is important that everyone plays a part in keeping everyone safe.

“We have trained our officers and control room staff to take measures to protect people when receiving a report of a dangerous dog, or attending an incident where a dog that does, or could potentially pose a risk is present.

“Within South Yorkshire we have had two fatal incidents of dogs killing people, one a baby and one the owner of a dog. These are extreme incidents, but they do happen, dogs have the ability to kill.

“Sometimes neighbours, professional personnel and family and friends can ignore warning signs due to fear of repercussions, or fear of the dog being destroyed, but reporting concerns could save someone’s life.”

The majority of dog owners are responsible, some struggle with the behaviour of their dog, but a small proportion of owners do not care that their dogs pose a risk and take no measures to eliminate it. We want this to stop.

PC Jameson continues: “If we are aware of a dog posing a risk or being out of control, we can offer help to the owner. We work in partnership with the Blue Cross where behaviour support and training can be provided.

“We can ensure simple measures are carried out such as letter box guards, bigger gates, higher fences, walking with a muzzle, but ultimately we can safeguard anyone in the property or proximity, including children, expectant mothers and delivery workers or visitors.

“I also urge you to take the time to talk to your children around how to act and approach dogs that either live in your home, or you may meet while out in parks and public spaces.”

During 2022 we seized 449 dogs, of which 303 were deemed as dangerous dogs. Of those seized, 94 were euthanised.

We pride ourselves on the destruction of any animal being the last resort. Prior to decisions being made, observations of the dog’s nature are carried out and the full circumstances of the incident are investigated. We work alongside charities to rehabilitate and rehome dogs where possible, as well as educate owners around being a responsible owner to have their dogs back.

If you have any concerns about a dog’s behaviour, or concerns for anyone living inside a property with a dangerous dog, please report it to us. We are here to help protect anyone at risk.

If you attend a property regularly and have been intimidated, threatened or injured by a dog’s behaviour, please report it to us. We can intervene early and stop injury or death.

You can pass information to police via our new online live chat, our online portal or by calling 101. You can access our online portal here: www.southyorks.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/

Alternatively, if you prefer not to give your personal details, you can stay anonymous and pass on what you know by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers. Call their UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111 or complete a simple and secure anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

Infographic with the title 'Paws for thought...' with a subheading of 'How to keep you, your dog and your visitors safe' with 4 tips and contact details if you are worried about your dog's health or behaviour (101 or Crimestoppers)
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