A woman was “severely injured” when she attempted to protect a cat from being mauled by dangerous dogs, according to a senior councillor.
Members of Liverpool Council have backed proposals to encourage responsible dog ownership after representatives shared their own experiences involving dangerous breeds. During a debate on his own motion, Cllr Peter Norris, who has been a postman for 35 years, revealed he had been attacked while on rounds.
Deputy city council leader Cllr Ruth Bennett told the chamber how, in her Belle Vale ward a woman was left with injuries after an attack on a cat by four “hunting” dogs.
From February next year it will become a criminal offence to own an XL Bully dog, after the government added it to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. As of December 31, it will be illegal to breed, sell, advertise, exchange, gift, rehome, abandon or allow XL bully dogs to stray in England and Wales.
Anyone wishing to keep their XL bully must apply for an exemption or they can choose to have their dog euthanised and apply for compensation. Applications opened earlier this week for owners to register their dogs before the breed is officially made illegal next year.
Cllr Norris, who used his motion to brand the Dangerous Dogs Act “woefully ineffective,” shared with councillors his own experience of dealing with dogs in his day job. He said: “I’ve been a postman for nearly 35 years so the issue I’m talking about is very close to my heart.
“I myself have been attacked by dogs when delivering mail and still bear the scars of when I was bitten when I was five years old. Many colleagues I have worked with have suffered life changing injuries from dog bites received while doing nothing more than the job they’re employed to do.”
Cllr Norris said he had seen data indicating Merseyside currently has the highest number of admissions to hospital for dog bites and that in the last two years, 24% of victims were 15 or under. He said the number of dog bites continues to rise and hot spots were located in areas of deprivation.
The Festival Gardens Labour member said: “According to NHS figures, in Liverpool alone, 5% of hospital admissions are as a result of a dog bite.”
Earlier this year, a 12-year old boy was among five people seriously injured when two escaped dogs attacked them in Netherley. Two Boxer dogs escaped a property and left the boy needing surgery after being hurt on his way home from school.
Ward member Cllr Bennett used her speech to criticise the owner and shared the story of another attack involving what she described as “hunting dogs.” She said: “Actions could only be taken after the injuries were suffered, pets that the owner should have known were aggressive, but without restraint were left to roam and attack.
“Just a few weeks ago, four dogs not on a banned breed list and used for hunting, escaped from a nearby field on to a quiet residential estate in Netherley and mauled a cat to death and severely injured an older lady trying to save the cat. We've been able to see the ferocity of the attack as it was all caught on camera.
“Four unrestrained, out of control hunting dogs, relentlessly attacking the cat and the people who tried to stop it. I want to pay tribute to the three neighbours who intervened, and using sticks, fought off the dogs while the owner stood, watched and did nothing.
“I sat with the family and the shock is still with them weeks on, compounded by the fact there is little in place to prevent the attack. None of the current legislation in place protected these residents from any of these attacks, these were legal dogs left to roam unrestrained.”
Cllr Bennett said more needs to be done to clamp down on dangerous dog issues and should begin in Westminster. She added: “Any action the police can take is dependent on waiting for an attack to happen and that is simply not good enough.”