A PIT bull type dog has been destroyed after police seized the animal in a raid organised in a crackdown on dangerous dogs in Sheffield.
The dog was taken from a house on Beck Road, Shiregreen, by officers using their powers under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Police said the animal they took away from the property had been responsible for attacking a cat in the neighbourhood.
Inspector Simon Leake, of the North East Safer Neighbourhood Team in Sheffield, which covers areas including Burngreave, Firth Park, Southey, Brightside and Shiregreen, said other raids could follow.
“We will respond where we have intelligence as we did on this occasion,” he said.
“Most of our intelligence around dangerous dogs comes to us from the community and it is often brought to people’s attention because of the nature of the dog itself. For example attacking other animals, biting people or generally acting aggressively. The dog that we seized had been responsible for attacking a cat.
“We receive a steady stream of information from the community and RSPCA about dogs throughout the year. Some of the reports relate to very low key matters which allow us to warn people about keeping dogs under control. Some are more serious where we need to respond quickly and decisively.”
Over the last 12 months police have logged 39 incidents in Sheffield where ‘dangerous dogs’ were involved, with one third of them committed in the areas covered by Inspector Leake’s Safer Neighbourhood Team.
They all involved attacks on people.
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act four breeds are covered - Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brazilieros - which can only be kept if they are microchipped, neutered, tattooed and registered.
The law states that they must also be kept under control at all times, including being muzzled in public
Insp Leake said: “If we seize such a dog, the owner can agree to relinquish control to us, but if the owners wishes to retain the dog we will ask Sheffield magistrates to make a decision as to the final outcome. That can be an order to the owner to comply with the law and they can order destruction of an animal.”
He said while some of the dogs are simply kept as pets, others bought as ‘status dogs’.
“It’s always an emotive issue and we have to be very careful how we act when faced with dealing with dog issues. Our primary focus though is on protecting the public from attack and subsequent injury,” he added.
“We will respond to any intelligence about dangerous dogs, ensuring that our actions are focussed on protecting the public.
“If you own or are looking after a dog and it attacks someone expect to be prosecuted. If you own one of these particular breeds, make sure you are legally compliant and you know the law.
“Fortunately dog attacks on people are not common but they can be severe and we have seen cases where lives have been changed, and we hear of incidents where death has occurred.
“The impact of a dog attack on an individual or family can be huge and we have a responsibility to lessen the chance of that happening. Identifying dangerous dogs quickly and taking them out of society is one way of achieving that.”