South Yorkshire Police dealt with hundreds of reports of children injured or scared by dangerous dogs in 2023

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South Yorkshire Police has provided tips to keep you and your dog safe over Christmas and into the new year.

During 2023, South Yorkshire Police recorded hundreds of crimes involving a child being injured, or scared from a dangerous dog, or a dog out of control.

As homes become busier with celebrations, the force is urging parents to think ahead and ensure the greatest gift this year is safety.

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As their work on policing dangerous dogs continues, officers are continuing to urge anyone with concerns about a dog within their community to come forward and speak to them.

South Yorkshire Police received hundreds of reports in 2023 of children being injured or scared by dangerous dogs.South Yorkshire Police received hundreds of reports in 2023 of children being injured or scared by dangerous dogs.
South Yorkshire Police received hundreds of reports in 2023 of children being injured or scared by dangerous dogs. | South Yorkshire Police

The force acts upon these reports and ensures any vulnerable people living in the property, including children, are safeguarded.

A recorded crime is where a criminal offence has taken place; these are not reports of concern.

During the year, South Yorkshire Police reported 230 crimes involving a dangerous dog where the victim was under the age of 18.

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‘You are more likely to be bitten by a dog known to you, and within a home’

Chief Inspector Emma Cheney said: “We continue to see and respond to reports of dangerous dogs and unfortunately this year our officers have responded to children who have sustained serious injury, leaving life-long changes or scarring.

“The changes of people, noise and routine during Christmas and New Year can cause anxiety or stress for your dog.

“All dogs have the ability to bite and attack. Even those who have never displayed signs of aggression can react when stressed.

“For everyone’s safety, think about your dog, their whereabouts and respond to their changes in behaviour. Simple steps and changes can prevent serious injury and fatality.”

Ch Insp Cheney advises dog owners to:

  • Give your dog a place to go where they feel safe and can be alone.
  • Encourage children to gently stroke your dog, avoid teasing and shouting and always be in close supervision. Do not leave children and dogs unattended.
  • Ensure your children do not interfere with your dog’s feeding, sleeping or play time.
  • If your dog becomes anxious with visitors, put your dog where they feel safe until people leave.

For more information about your child and dog interacting visit the Blue Cross website.