A mum-of-three, whose 18-month old Shih Tzu was attacked and killed by two Neopolitan Bull Mastiff dogs, has backed Lancashire Police’s ‘dangerous dog surgeries’ taking place across the county this week.
Officers are holding the dog surgeries this week to encourage responsible ownership and tackle the issue of dangerous dogs.
Emma Winter, from Moss Avenue, Ashton, Preston, was walking her Shih Tzu, Coco, two years ago, when the two Mastiff-type dogs, both off the lead, attacked her pet.
Emma said: “It’s important for dog owners to know how to look after them.
“They need to realise that some of these dogs need to kept muzzled, away from children and certainly not let off the lead.”
Events will be held between 12pm and 8pm at the police’s Preston Operations Centre, Lancaster Road North, Preston, on July 25, as well as in Blackpool on July 24 and Blackburn on July 23.
Inspector Mark Baines said: “We know there are dogs out there that pose a risk to the community and even to their owners.
“Any dog breed has the potential to be dangerous, especially around very small children.
“Sadly, this is evident by the number of dog bite incidents that get reported both to us and other forces on a regular basis, some with tragic consequences.
“We understand that it may be a very difficult decision for pet owners to come forward but we would urge anybody that owns a dog and has any concerns about its breed to bring it along in order to comply with the legislation.”
Inspector Bains continued: “Even if a dog is found to be a banned breed we can guide owners through the court process.
“It may still be possible for dog owners to keep their pet, subject to certain restrictions.
“Destruction of any animal will be an absolute last resort: there are ways we can help them keep their pet safety.”
So far this year, the police force has seized 144 dogs, of which 113 were banned breeds; 23 of which have been kept by their owners after a court agreed a contingent destruction order.
This means the dog has to be neutered, tattooed, micro-chipped, insured and be muzzled and in control of someone over 16 when in public.
Six owners have also been prosecuted under Section Three of the Dangerous Dog Act.
Insp Baines added: “Our message is simple; we have a responsibility to protect people and keep communities safe.
“If you are in any doubt whether your dog is a banned breed don’t wait for us to knock on your door, book an appointment and come and see us.”
Emma, who now has two Shih Tzu/Chihuahua crosses named Bonnie and Clyde, said she is scared to take them out because of what happened to her beloved Coco.
She said: “We don’t take them out, they’re just so little, so we’re scared to go anywhere with them.
“We certainly won’t take them to the park like we did with Coco.”