HUNDREDS of dangerous dogs were destroyed last year after being seized by police, new figures have shown.
Some of the country’s biggest forces reported a rise in the number of dogs seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act, including banned breeds and those which attacked people and other pets.
Animal charities have called for “drastic changes” to dangerous dog laws ahead of changes set to be enforced on Tuesday, which will make it possible for owners to be prosecuted for dog attacks on private property.
It follows the death of 14-year-old Jade Anderson who was savaged by four dogs - believed to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers - as she was visiting the home of a friend at a house in Atherton in March last year.
Freedom of Information (FOI) responses obtained by the Press Association from police forces in England, Wales and Scotland found a number of forces recorded a rise in how many dangerous dogs they seized.
Greater Manchester Police said it seized 198 dogs under the Dangerous Dogs Act in 2013, compared with 203 in 2012 and 190 in 2011. And 60 dangerous dogs were destroyed in 2013, compared with 66 in 2011 and 85 in 2011.
The force today also welcomed a revision to the Dangerous Dogs Act which gives them extra powers to deal with irresponsible owners.
Supt Mark Kenny said: “Sadly we have all seen the devastation caused by a dog attack and welcome the changes in legislation that will help police, local authorities and partner agencies improve public safety and responsible dog ownership. While the introduction of new powers can’t bring anybody back or take away injuries sustained we hope that today’s news brings some small comfort to those families that have had to deal with the heat-breaking consequences of a dog attack.
“We appreciate that the large majority of dog owners are responsible and look after their animals very well but for those that don’t, I hope the new powers and penalties will urge you to think very seriously about training and controlling your dogs.”
Breeds banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act include any pitbull types, Japanese Tosa, Fila Brasileiro and Dogo Argentino.
Dogs Trust said it had been arguing for “drastic changes” in dangerous dog laws and claimed other legislation did not go far enough to tackle irresponsible dog
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “To focus on a specific breed or type of dog is to miss the problem itself. You can only legislate for the actions or inactions of humans (the owners) and not the dog.”