May 21 2013 Latest news:
Sukran Sahin, Senior Reporter
Friday, June 15, 2012
Barking and Dagenham Police are investigating a string of dangerous dog attacks in the borough - one in which a woman was hospitalised.
The Post spoke to Sgt Ian Lee, the Met’s local wildlife crime officer, who is currently investigating a number of cases in which dogs have been dangerously out of control in public places.
He also explained the legally confusing grey areas that can mean that no-one can be prosecuted for incidents where a dog has injured or attacked someone.
Among those that do qualify - not only for a criminal offence but also the potential of losing one’s council home - was the case of a woman dog walker who had to be hospitalised after an attack.
On May 13, she was walking her own dog along a residential road in Becontree when what is thought to be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier attacked her. She was taken to hospital with puncture wounds to her wrist and lower leg.
On June 4, a father and his 14-year-old daughter were walking along the same Dagenham road, when a dog of similar description - a brown pit Staffordshire Bull Terrier - emerged from the same address and attacked the father, who was trying to protect his daughter.
Earlier this week, a dog of the Japanese Akita breed allegedly attacked another dog in St Chads Park.
Sgt Lee said: “The dog was not on a lead and the owner - a young man - walked out of the park, never to be seen again.
“I would appeal to anyone who has information to let us know or to contact the council, who have an animal welfare team.”
On Friday, a 20-year-old woman called police to report that a German Shepherd had attacked her 16-year-old brother and bit him in the arm in St Chads Park, Marks Gate. The teenager was taken to hospital.
According to Sgt Lee, the owner did not stop the animal.
He said: “People who don’t control their dogs in parks and in public spaces could face a criminal conviction or may even lose their house.”
If the defendant is a council tenant, the authority may evict them on the basis that they have breached their tenancy agreement.
Seized dogs will not necessarily be destroyed. Sometimes, police will merely talk to the owner and order them to keep the animal indoors, on a leash or get it neutered , clipped or muzzled.
Dogs that are seized are taken to a special dog pen.
On Friday, police officers enforced a warrant to enter an address in Dagenham where they believed the owner of the dog who allegedly attacked the three people was living. No dog was found at the address but police are still investigating.
The exact address has not yet been published so as not to interfere with any future visits.