A BLIND man who needed 24 stitches after struggling to save his guide dog from attack was amongst Londoners joining the Deputy Mayor for Policing, Kit Malthouse’s pledge today demanding urgent government action on dangerous dog legislation.
Kit Malthouse has launched the public pledge against so called ‘weapon’ dogs this morning in Battersea Park alongside the victims of dog attacks, animal welfare organisations and park wardens.
Kit Malthouse has campaigned for the last two years on greater control on ‘weapon’ dogs and is calling for stiffer penalties as well as extended legislation to include private land and tougher punishment for owners whose dog are dangerously out of control or cause injury.
Mr Malthouse said: ‘How many more innocent people and pets need to suffer horrific attacks before the government realises this needs urgent action? I am asking everyone to sign this petition and back our call to tackle the problem of snarling ‘weapon’ dogs in London. Anyone using a dog as a weapon should feel the full force of the law. These animals are just as dangerous as a knife or a gun and should carry the same penalties. The people hear today are proof that these dogs and their irresponsible owners are terrorising neighbourhoods across London.
"Unfortunately, the current legislation doesn’t go far enough to protect people from attack, fear, intimidation and, in some cases, being mauled to death. We need tough legislation, tough enforcement and a hard-line approach to those who breed dogs for fighting and attack. The Mayor has established the Met’s Status Dogs Unit to start to deal with the problem but we need urgent Government action to make their job easier.”
Barrie Hopcroft was shopping with guide dog Bailey an eight year old labrador-retriever last July when a pitbull attacked Bailey, and knocked Barrie sideways. The guide dog suffered four puncture wounds to its neck and shoulder and as Barrie tried to stop the pitbull he was bitten, causing deep hand wounds requiring 24 stitches.
The dangerous dog owner then picked up his dog and jumped onto a bus and escaped.
Barrie Hopcroft said: “It was an horrific attack and the pitbull wouldn't let go. Even now, over a year later, Bailey is wary when approached by the same type of pitbull terriers."
Also joining the pledge was Munever Ibrahim whose beloved Yorkshire Terrier Chippie was killed by a ‘status’ dog and Munever nearly lost her finger trying in vain to save her dog. Chippie died almost instantly from a broken neck and back and Mrs Ibrahim was unable to work for many weeks whilst she recovered in hospital.
Munever Ibrahim said: “I’m utterly devastated by what has happened to my dog, and I don’t think I will ever truly recover. I keep having flashbacks seeing Chippie in that dog’s mouth, I didn’t even notice at first that my hand was dangling off. Doctors thought they would have to amputate my fingers but managed to save them. When I found out my dog had died I was inconsolable. I want to do everything I can to stop this happening to someone else. People can’t use dogs to scare and intimidate – they are literally ruining people’s lives.“ Mrs Ibrahim said it was the third attack on her pet by the same dog in two years - despite repeated requests to its owner to put it on a lead.
The pledge states: "Irresponsible dog ownership and dogs being used as weapons is an urgent and worrying issue that blights many neighbourhoods and parks. "I back City Hall in calling upon the government to take immediate action to deal with the problem."
To join the Mayor’s Dog pledge visit www.london.gov.uk/dangerousdogs.