Cheshire Police are warning irresponsible dog owners in one area of the Liverpool City Region following dozens of incidents.
Police in Widnes and Runcorn covering Halton have responded to 76 dog-related incidents including attacks and bites, in the last six months. Of the 76 incidents 15 were actual dog bites where people were injured, 10 were dog attacks and the rest of the calls related to scared people and those concerned about mistreatment.
Police said while some incidents can be accidental, the potential for behavioural problems in dogs increases if they haven’t been trained or have been mistreated or neglected.
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Sgt Phil Berry, said: “While most dog owners are responsible and care for their pets, often seeing them as cherished members of the family, there are some who aren’t. That may be why we’re seeing an increase in dogs being out of control and harming people and other dogs.
“Dogs are not an accessory or a status symbol to show how ‘hard’ you are. They are animals that need to be treated with care. Socialisation and training is important to make sure they are balanced and happy individuals."
Due to the emerging issue of out of control dogs in Halton, police are reminding people it is a criminal offence under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991 to allow a dog to be "dangerously out of control" either in a public place or on in the home. A "dangerously out of control" dog can be defined as a dog that has injured someone, or a dog that a person has grounds to reasonably believe that it may injure somebody.
Something as simple as a dog chasing, barking at or jumping up at a person or child could result in an investigation, so it's important to ensure the owner’s dog is always under control. If a dog injures somebody, it may be seized and if convicted the owner could face a lengthy prison sentence, a fine, or both.
The dog could also be euthanised. Under the same law it is also a criminal offence if your dog attacks an assistance dog.
Sgt Berry said: “If a dog you own has behaviour that concerns you or you need advice on training, there are plenty of dog trainers, and charities such as the RSPCA, to support you and your dog.
“And if you believe an animal is being mistreated, you can contact the RSPCA via their website to report your concerns.”
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