Under-fire chiefs at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have called round tables to discuss possible changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act
A spate of deadly dog bite attacks has sparked talks at the highest levels of government to try to stop the “national crisis”.
Six people were beaten to death by dogs this year, twice as many as last year.
Four were children under the age of three.
A pandemic boom in pet ownership has been blamed for breeds being imported from overseas and left unsocialized in lockdown.
Under-fire chiefs at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have called round tables to discuss possible changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The police, courts and prosecutors have been blasted for not fully enforcing the law, leaving it to the Royal Mail and Communication Workers’ Union to bring private prosecutions.
The RSPCA also says the current law isn’t working, while postal and delivery workers say they have been left with PTSD after being mauled by dogs during rounds.
The CWU says dog attacks injure 3,000 post office, pickup and delivery workers each year.
Dave Joyce from the union said: “This is a national crisis. We have 90,000 members and every day I wake up and I’m like, ‘Is this the day I get this call that someone got killed?’ We’re close.”
Postwoman Sarah King, 46, had her finger bitten off, requiring counseling and a prosthetic finger. The CPS is reviewing your case. The Barnsley mother of two was attacked by a Rottweiler-Sharpei crossbreed near Mexborough, South Yorks.
She said: “The dog was like a silent ninja. There were no bristles or a back to the mailbox, so he stuck his snout in. When I pulled my hand out, part of my finger was missing. The pain was terrible.”
A 56-year-old Sheffield postwoman was fighting for her life after a dog attack in the city this year. She suffered wounds to her face, leg and head, but police said there would be “no further action”. Two weeks ago, a 31-year-old postman was bitten at least five times by a German shepherd in Goole, East Yorks. Calling for tougher action against abusive owners, she says, “Something has to happen or someone’s going to die.”
Mr Joyce said a key problem was the lack of enforcement by the police, courts and CPS, adding: “I suspect dog attack cases are not their priority, which is wrong.”
The CWU wanted “sentences that fit the crime,” he said. “For serious dog attacks resulting in serious injuries, courts can order prison sentences of up to five years.
“But the longest we’ve seen was four and a half months involving a postman who was almost killed.”
The CWU is seeking changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act to make law enforcement easier, saying the law suggests a dog owner must be aware their pet is dangerous, which is difficult to prove.
dr RSPCA’s Sam Gaines said: “There is an urgent need for reform. We want to see the end of breed specific legislation. Any dog can bite.”
The Royal Mail said: “We will seek to prosecute dog owners in criminal courts where appropriate. We will continue to push for legislative changes to reflect the seriousness of the attacks.”
Defra said: “We have launched a responsible dog ownership project with the police, local authority representatives and animal welfare stakeholders to explore dog control issues.”
Victims of pets out of control
SIX people, including four children, have died in the UK so far this year after being mauled by dogs.
Dog bite injuries have more than doubled in the last 15 years, with more than 10,000 people requiring hospital treatment each year, and The Mirror is calling for tighter controls on dangerous dogs.
The first victim of 2022 was John Jones, 68, who was attacked at his country home in Lampeter, West Wales on January 10.
Police sedated three bulldogs and a woman was arrested on suspicion of walking a dog that was dangerously out of control, then released as part of the investigation.
On March 6, three-month-old Kyra Leanne King died of head and neck injuries after she was allegedly attacked by a husky in a forest near Woodhall Spa, Lincs. A 40-year-old woman and 54-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of being responsible for a runaway husky and remain under investigation.
Bella-Rae Birch, just 17 months old, was beaten to death on March 21 in St Helens, Merseyside.
Her father’s American Tyrant XL was destroyed and no arrests are believed to have been made.
Two-year-old Lawson Bond died a week later after being vandalized at his home in Egdon, Worcs. Three Rottweilers were killed but no arrests were made.
Three-year-old Daniel Twigg was beaten to death on a farm on May 15 and a 48-year-old man was arrested and released on bail.
Last week Keven Jones, 62, died after being bitten at a house in Wrexham. No arrests were made.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/crisis-talks-over-explosion-fatal-27107261 Crisis talks as deadly dog attacks DOUBLE with victims including four children under 3 years old