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 DOG behaviourist says tougher sentences are needed for owners whose dogs attack.
Peter Singh, who runs thedogyouneed.com, has been studying dog psychology for six years.
He told News Shopper: "Unfortunately there are irresponsible dog owners, and their dogs could possibly attack a human.
"I certainly agree with tougher sentences for people. A dog in the wrong hands is lethal.
"Dogs are a product of their owners. If you get an aggressive person they will have an aggressive dog just like a happy-go-lucky person will have a happy-go-lucky dog."
He added: "You could take an aggressive dog to training but it's not going to make them balanced. You need to socialise them, give them enough exercise and make sure they are not the dominant one in the household."
Mr Singh, who owns five dogs, says people need to understand dog psychology and how to treat their pets.
He said: "In general there is a complete ignorance of dog behaviour in this country. Education is the way forward.
"Our dogs are always getting their messages from us. You can only get a dog to work for you if you show calm and leadership."
He added: "People humanise their dog and talk to them like they are kids.
"If you had a five-year-old child who was nervous you would put your arm around them and console them.
"If you get a nervous dog and do the same you are nurturing those nerves. That's why nerves or aggression gets worse. The time to give any dog affection is when they are calm."
Mr Singh, from Farnborough Village, believes owners should be punished if their dog attacks.
He said: "The main problem we have in this country is we need to have more paperwork to own a TV then we do to own a dog.
"I don't agree with muzzles for staffs. It's not the breed it's the person behind the breed.
"Unless the government looks at things seriously nothing is going to change."
He advises: "Make sure you are doing the very basics right. Give enough exercise and affection at the right time. Most importantly is the human has to work on themselves."
A 25-YEAR-OLD woman says she has been left "scarred mentally" after being bitten by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Jo Wakeshore was at a stables in Chislehurst when she was bitten by the owner's dog.
She said: "The dog came running up behind me and just bit me on the backside.
"I screamed. My trousers were ripped and it was bleeding."
Ms Wakeshore went to hospital to get a tetanus jab following the attack.
She said: "I couldn’t sit down for a week and I was on antibiotics for 10 days.
“It’s left me scarred mentally. I am really nervous around dogs now and that makes it worse as they can smell fear.”
She added: "I'm definitely more wary of dogs, certainly Staffies, where as I wasn't before."
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 NHS Information Centre
Figures show from May 2010 to April 2011 there were 25 admissions to Bexley Care Trust for people bitten or struck by a dog.
:: Jenny Wright’s one-year-old Yorkshire Terrier Dotty was mauled to death by two American Bull dogs in Oakdene Avenue, Chislehurst, last year.
Mrs Wright said: “Owners should be responsible for what their dog has done. Sentences should be given to owners and all dogs should be chipped and licenced.”
:: ade12001 said: “I think every dog should be chipped by law and that all dogs should be muzzled with hefty fines and imprisonment for owners who refuse.
:: Excalibur said: “Humans do far more damage to each other every day than dogs will ever do.”
:: Astrid Brett said: “The only thing I can compare this campaign to is the Nazis looking for people to turn in Jews. You are as bad as Hitler and a disgrace to humanity.”