Croydon dog attacks highest in London, reveals mayor’s report

Dangerous dog attacks in Croydon surged to the highest levels recorded in London last year according to figures released by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.

The total number of offences in all 32 London boroughs between January and December 2014 was 1,400, up 50% from the previous year, with 77 taking place in Croydon.

The sharp spike in numbers reflects an amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act made in May 2014, which means that crimes committed on private property are now included in the figures.

Bill Lambert, a spokesperson for The Kennel Club, criticised the government’s current policy of imposing a blanket ban of specific breeds.

“The Dangerous Dogs Act in its current form was designed to wipe out certain breeds of dog, but we have actually seen an increase in these dogs,” he said.

“I think it was always going to be a difficult law to impose because it was unjust in its inception.

“To define a dog as dangerous purely on the way that it looks rather than on the way it behaves was always going to fail.”

Mr Lambert called for a change in the approach to tackling dangerous dogs, focusing on responsible ownership.

“We know that there are perfectly charming and nice examples of dogs that are dangerous by definition of their breed, and similarly there are dogs that can be dangerous because they’ve been made to be so by poor ownership,” he said.

“We would really like to see a root and branch change of the whole law.”

Matthew Kyeremeh, deputy cabinet member for safety and justice for Croydon Council, told SW Londoner that the council is taking action to deal with the problem.

He said: “Croydon Council strongly promotes free neutering and microchipping of bull breeds and status dogs in problem areas.

“We also offer free behavioural and training advice in partnership with rescue organisations.”

He added that the council organises patrols of problem areas when incidents are reported, and that problem owners receive visits or are sent letters to try to tackle the issue.

The council has also launched a new initiative, ‘Borough Action for Responsible K9s’ (BARK), to combat irresponsible dog ownership and the mistreatment of animals.

The scheme, launched in conjunction with the police and the RSPCA, includes educational school visits, patrols of areas where there are persistent dog problems, and seizing prohibited breeds.

Picture courtesy of Stonnieandfriends, with thanks

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