Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
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.
A FATHER whose daughter was badly bitten by a dog is backing News Shopper's Shop a dog campaign.
Parys Smith, 11, had to stay in hospital for four days and needed 56 stitches to her leg after she was bitten by her friend's Staffordshire bull terrier, Keane, last year.
Police could not take any criminal action against its owner, Craig Hudson, as the incident happened on private property and the dog was not an illegal type.
Parys' dad Martin Smith, of Osborne Close, Elmers End, said: "She had a wound 6ins wide by 4ins. It was like the top of her thigh had been ripped off.
"My daughter was scarred for life but they said I had to go through private prosecution.
"I wasn't able to pursue that because he didn't have anything of value so they said it was not financially viable."
The father-of-six added: "Owners should be responsible for their dog's actions.
"You should be able to prosecute whether it's on the pavement, in the garden or in a house.
"I wasn't looking for financial gain. I was just looking for justice for my daughter.
"Every angle I looked at, because of legislation, rules and regulations, I was fighting an uphill battle."
Keane was put down nine weeks after the attack following a petition by residents in the road, where both families lived.
Mr Smith, 51, said: "My daughter wouldn't go out the front unless she was with more than two people. It was horrendous for her.
"She's ok now but has quite a big scar."
He added: “I back this campaign 100 per cent. It would prevent dog attacks and make owners more responsible.
"People have to be on the other side of it to appreciate what the victim goes through."
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.
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
Dawn Elimlahi, of Bourneside Gardens, Downham:
“Staffordshire bull terriers, rottweilers and dobermans should be muzzled and if they attack anything from a cat to a person they should be put to sleep because they have tasted blood.”
Lucy Brooks – emailed
“You could be responsible for the death of innocent pets simply because of their looks. It's nothing more than genocide.”
Georgina Cooper, of Crofton Road, Orpington:
“I feel all dogs should be muzzled in public. You can’t trust any dog with a child. I do believe every dog has the potential with children to turn on them. I think it’s a fantastic campaign.”
Diane Simons – emailed
“New Shopper might drop the breed issue and get photos of the Labradors that bite. It’s a stupid hate campaign which is inciting racism in dogs.”