Time to take a lead on controlling attacks from dangerous dogs

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REGARDING the article ‘Sheep deaths anger farmers’, Rye Observer, February 17.

I do believe that it is time that those with the authority to frame and implement sensible dog control legislation to do so.

The increase in damage to livestock, exemplified by the killing and mutilation of dozens of sheep in fields at Pett; as with the increase in attacks on people, are problems that are steadily getting worse.

Recently the terrible mutilation of a young girl walking with her family in a park made the headlines but of course these two incidents are only the tip of the iceberg.

The cost to the NHS of treating attacks on people by dogs is many millions of pounds each year.

Each of these attacks was completely avoidable.

The number of reported attacks has been rising steadily for many years at about five per cent.

The severity of the attacks is reported as also rising. There are also costs to the police and courts when the owner is identified.

The police that I spoke to following a horrific attack by a dog said that the problem can easily be dealt with where there is a by law requiring dogs to be on a lead.

France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Spain and Portugal all require dogs to be controlled on a short lead when meeting people in public.

There are substantial fines for dog owners who do not do so (5000Euros in Germany).

These laws apply across these nations and they do not have the problems we have in this country.

Dog owners really ought to feel that they do have to control their dogs in public.

Dog owners should really be made to make good the consequences of not doing so, though this is clearly not the case in Britain.

Many dog owners do keep their dogs on a lead in public, but it would be appropriate for those with the power to implement change to introduce the laws we so badly need to persuade the inconsiderate ones who do not feel it is necessary to keep their dogs on a lead in public places.

It is terrible that so many people are now frightened to use public footpaths and cycle ways for fear of being attacked by dogs.

Please do not identify me as I fear reprisals for speaking out.

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