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Dangerous Dogs to be destroyed after police seizures
Updated 12:02pm Thursday 27th March 2014 in News
POLICE have today seized 15 dangerous dogs from owners who have breached conditions set down by the courts.
The owners had initially been granted leave by the courts to keep the animals.
But police say the dogs will be humanely destroyed after owners did not adhere to a set of nine conditions imposed by the courts.
The operation took place across the region - including St Helens, Merseyside Police said.
Across Merseyside there are 247 owners of dogs who are exempted under Dangerous Dogs legislation. Of these 130 are in breach of their conditions.
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Uniformed Services wing, said: "As a result of the failure to adhere to the exemption conditions of the court and other aggravating factors, we identified and prioritised 42 of those dogs as a danger to the public and have taken the required action this morning.
"So far 15 dogs have been seized as part of the operation. The dogs seized by officers today will be humanely destroyed.”
Since 2007 two children have been killed by pit bulls, classed as dangerous dogs.
St Helens five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson was killed January 2007 and four-year-old John Paul Massey in November 2009.
Police carried out research to determine the risks posed to communities by the dangerous dogs, including whether their owners had links to organised crime or if children were living in the house where the animals were kept. CI Gibson added: "Let’s be clear, these dogs pose a danger to the public, as well as to the families where they are housed.
"Invariably the people who keep these dogs, keep them as a status symbol and are not responsible dog owners.
"I’m sure that if you were to ask members of the public there aren’t many who would be happy living next door to someone who owns one of these dogs and does not take their responsibilities seriously, and I’m sure there aren’t many who would be happy to let their children, or grandchildren play out in the street if one of these dogs was in the vicinity.
"These dogs are fighting dogs, they are not designed to be family pets.
"Where owners have made applications to the court and have been granted an exemption it is up to that dog owner to adhere to the conditions and prove responsible dog ownership.
"If those owners are not prepared to abide by the conditions imposed, we have no alternative but to take the action we have undertaken today to keep our communities safe.”
The dog owners had been sent a letter from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs warning them that their dog may be destroyed if they breached the conditions. Police stressed they want to make it clear they don’t want to demonise all dogs, or their owners.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: "Sadly here on Merseyside we have seen the devastating consequences of what can happen when irresponsible dog owners refuse to control their animals.
“Nobody should suffer serious injury or lose their life because an individual has failed to control an already banned breed of dog.”
"We have a responsibility to act to keep our children and grandchildren safe and when owners have failed to obey the orders of a court the force has no choice but to step in and remove these dangerous dogs from our community.”
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