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MP David Burrowes calls for action against dangerous dogs after pet attacked in Enfield
An Enfield politician has backed tougher sentences for irresponsible dog owners after his pet Labrador was attacked in a park.
Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes said Government plans to toughen dangerous dog laws and new sentencing guidelines recommending at least six months in jail for those who fail to stop their dog harming others were welcome.
Mr Burrowes was walking his dog Cholmeley in Arnos Park on May 13 when an 11-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier, which was not on a lead, attacked the Labrador and bit his two front legs, leaving him needing treatment at a vet.
He said that his experience added to a list of complaints from constituents about the problems of dangerous dogs in parks.
He added: “I am pleased that dangerous dog laws are being increased to cover attacks on legitimate visitors on private property and that the government is undertaking a consultation to assist in the identification of dogs through micro chipping.
“But more can be done beyond legislation to support responsible dog ownership. The problem primarily is not the dogs but the owners.
“We have great local parks that the majority use and enjoy responsibly. However, because of the irresponsibility of a minority of dog owners, some parks have become no go areas for families with young children and other, more responsible, dog owners.”
He backed a campaign by charity Dog’s Trust to tackle the root of the problem by working with owners, schools, police and housing associations.
He added: “Staffs can be the most great family pets and we shouldn’t demonise them, but the owners need to recognise what dogs can do and have them under proper control and on a lead.”
Last week, the Sentencing Council for England and Wales gave the first recommendations to judges for convictions under the Dangerous Dogs Act, saying that there should be more jail terms for offenders and that sentences of up to 18 months should be considered.
A petition – backed by the Enfield Independent – was handed to Prime Minister David Cameron last year, calling for stiffer penalties for owners of banned dogs and swifter justice in attack cases.
And Enfield Council launched the £38,000 Parkguard scheme to tackle dangerous dogs in the borough’s parks last summer after aggressive dogs was listed as one of the top concerns in a survey.
The project involves two dedicated patrollers spending their day tackling intimidating dogs in the borough's green spaces and teaching owners how to better control their pets.
Mr Burrowes has organised a meeting at Southgate College on July 7 in a bid to highlight the ongoing problem.