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SHOP A DOG is News Shopper's new campaign to bring justice to the victims of dog attacks and help prevent further maulings across south-east London and north Kent
News Shopper is running a series of features on dangerous dogs and we need YOUR help to get the law changed to make our parks and neighbourhoods safer for everyone.
SHOP A DOG is News Shopper's new campaign to bring justice to the victims of dog attacks and help prevent further maulings across south-east London and north Kent.
According to NHS statistics, at least 163 people have been injured by dogs in the News Shopper area in the last two years, leaving some victims with horrific wounds while many irresponsible dog owners have got off scott free.
Over the next few weeks we'll be bringing you some harrowing stories involving victims as young as nine and as old as 90. We'll also be calling on you to Shop a Dog.
THE CURRENT LAW
Which dogs are banned?
There are currently four types of banned dogs in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
These are: - pit bull terrier - Japanese tosa - dogo Argentino - fila Braziliero
It is illegal to breed from, sell, abandon or give away a banned dog. Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what your dog actually looks like, rather than the breed.
What happens if I am caught with a banned dog?
The police can seize your dog and keep it in kennels while applying for a court order. If the courts decide your dog is a banned type, you get a criminal record with a possible £5,000 fine and/or a six month prison sentence.
This process can take months if not years as experts argue whether a dog is a banned type or not. Meanwhile the dogs are locked up in kennels at a huge cost to the taxpayer.
What happens if I am attacked by a perfectly legal dog in the owner's home?
Nothing. Under current law this is not a crime - leaving people such as postmen and social workers extremely vulnerable.
What happens to owners whose perfectly legal dogs attack people in public?
They can be charged with 'allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place' and, if convicted, jailed for up to two years.
What happens to owners whose legal dogs attack other pets?
The owner can be sued in a county court for the damages caused.
Are Staffordshire bull terriers banned?
No. Despite at least five Staffordshire bull terrier attacks in the News Shopper area in the last three years, they are legal and don't need a muzzle in public.
WHAT WE WANT
- Increase the sentence for owning a banned dog - in line with carrying a knife.
- Extend the law to include dog attacks on private land - therefore protecting workers such as postmen and carers.
- Increase the prison sentences for owners convicted of allowing their dog to attack humans.
- Force all Staffordshire Bull Terriers to wear a muzzle in public.
- Simplify the court process so that banned dogs can be destroyed immediately.
SHOP A DOG AND WIN A MUG
You can win yourself a free News Shopper mug by sending in a photo of a banned dog. All you need to do is email the image to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, phone number and exact details of where you took the photo.
Alternatively post them to Shop A Dog, News Shopper, Mega House, Crest View Drive, BR5 1BT. We'll pass on all the images to the police.
Statistics from The NHS Information Centre
From May 2010 to April 2011 there were 30 admissions to Greenwich Teaching PCT for people bitten or struck by a dog - up two from the previous year.
Grandmother attacked by dog
A GRANDMOTHER’S face was left bloody and scarred following a violent doorstep dog attack last year.
Margaret White was visiting a sick friend in Woodside Avenue, Chislehurst, when a Staffordshire bull terrier rushed out of the property and mauled her face and neck.
The 90-year-old was left needing 100 stitches.
Speaking from hospital in February 2010, she said: “It was terrifying.
“If the dog got any further down my neck I would have been finished.”
Ms White, of Mottingham Lane, Mottingham, was taken to Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, where she spent a week recovering from severe facial wounds.
Police confirmed at the time that the dog involved in the incident was not an illegal breed and had not been seized.
Ms White’s granddaughter Suzanne Page started a petition calling on the government to change the Dangerous Dogs Act so attacks on private property can still lead to a police prosecution.
The Dangerous Dogs Act currently only applies to dangerously out-of-control animals in a public place.