The rate of dogs being taken in by police has risen dramatically over the last four years in the Midlands.
Nottinghamshire police seized eight times more dogs during 2014 compared to 2011.
2011 saw this force take in just 7 dogs. In 2014, this number rose to 59.
Over the same time period, Leicestershire saw an increase from 22 to 90 seized dogs.
However, this increase in figures doesn’t necessarily mean that dogs have become more ferocious and untrained, as this only makes up half the picture. There was a change in the law last year which gave officers more power regarding the seizing of dogs, and that owners can be prosecuted if their dogs attack someone, even on private land.
The maximum jail time was also significantly raised last year, for people whose dog attacks someone. From just a maximum of two years, irresponsible owners can now face up to 14 years in jail if their dogs seriously harm someone.
The increased awareness of the police regarding dog attacks and the dangers of badly trained dogs likely contributed to the increased figures. In Nottinghamshire, there have been five officers appointed to help improve the knowledge of the police service and make them more effective.
Being attacked by a dog can be life changing and horrifying. One dog attack victim told the BBC: “You can’t even imagine what goes through your mind but I remember the noise, going completely blank and then screaming. It didn’t want to stop.” Laura Holmes was attacked by a friend’s Akita when it “leapt up and literally locked its jaw on [her] face.”
Of course, the attitude of dogs very often reflect the owner’s training and care. Many back street breeders and illegal breeds are aggravating the issue of dangerous dogs, especially in conjunction with illegal dog fighting rings.
Police now have the right to seize a dog they think is dangerous or is an illegal breed, such as the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the fila Brasiliero and the dogo Argentino, which are now all banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Although dogs can make a household complete, they can also be dangerous. Make sure the dogs you purchase are from legitimate breeders and receive the care, attention and training needed to keep them happy and a healthy and fun part of the family.