Lancashire Police is to hold dog surgeries across the county this week in a bid to encourage responsible ownership and tackle the issue of ‘dangerous dogs’.
An event will be held in Blackpool on Thursday, following one in Blackburn on Wednesday.
Members of the public who have concerns about whether or not they own a banned breed are being asked to book an appointment and bring their dog along where specialist dog handlers and dog identification officers will be on hand to assess their dog and decide if further action is required.
The purpose of the events is to educate the public about the recent changes in dog legislation and to provide help and advice to dog owners who have questions or concerns about the breed of their dog, and identify any dogs that are prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
All owners are being reassured by police that they will be treated professionally and sensitively.
Officers are also hoping that the events will help them to generate intelligence about potential dangerous dogs.
Insp Mark Baines said: “We know there are dogs out there that pose a risk to the community and even to their owners. Any dog breed has the potential to be dangerous, especially around very small children.
“Sadly this is evident by the number of dog bite incidents that get reported both to us and other forces on a regular basis, some with tragic consequences.
“We understand that it may be a very difficult decision for pet owners to come forward but we would urge anybody that owns a dog and has any concerns about its breed to bring it along in order to comply with the legislation.”
So far this year Lancashire Police has seized 144 dogs, of which 113 were banned breeds. Some 23 of the dogs assessed as being a banned breed dog have been kept by their owners after a court agreed a contingent destruction order.
The surgery will be held between noon and 8pm on Thursday at Blackpool Police Station, Bonny Street. Email email@example.com. to book an appointment.
been prosecuted under Sec 3 of the Dangerous Dog Act.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Everyone is all too familiar with the devastating and tragic consequences that can occur as a result of people owning out-of-control and dangerous dogs.
“I am fully supportive of the Constabulary’s efforts to protect people and keep communities safe, and I would urge anyone who is concerned about their pet to visit the surgery and put their mind at ease.
“Ultimately, we all want to prevent further tragedies in the county, and this is an excellent opportunity for dog owners to get the help, support and advice they might need. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to do that.”
Animal welfare is also a key concern for the operation as often banned breeds are rarely exercised owing to their temperament and are often found to be kept in poor conditions.
Insp Baines continued: “Our message is simple; we have a responsibility to protect people and keep communities safe. If you are in any doubt whether your dog is a banned breed don’t wait for us to knock on your door, book an appointment and come and see us.
“Equally if you have any concerns about a dog in your community please pick up the phone and let us know – we will enforce the law and take any necessary action.”
Members of the public with any concerns about dangerous dogs are encouraged to go along to the surgeries and speak with the force Dog Legislation Officers.
Alternatively police are urging anyone who suspects they know someone with a banned type of dog to contact Police on 101 or to ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you see a dog out of control, whether or not it is one of the dangerous dog types, dial 999. Stray dogs should be reported to the council dog warden service.