Merseyside police seize 22 dangerous dogs in raids

Dogs seized previously by Merseyside Police Image copyright PA
Image caption Merseyside Police has "prioritised" 42 dogs posing a danger to the public and people who live with them

Twenty two dogs have been seized in a crackdown on dangerous dogs by police in Merseyside.

Merseyside Police said the owners of the dogs, all banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act, had not adhered to conditions imposed by the courts when given permission to keep them.

Police raided addresses in St Helens, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley and Liverpool.

Ch Insp Chris Gibson said he was not "demonising all dogs" and those targeted were a risk to the public.

He said the force had "prioritised" 42 dogs posing a danger to the public and people who live with them and whose owners have breached conditions of ownership.

'Fighting dogs not pets'

He said of 247 dog owners in Merseyside who are exempted under Dangerous Dogs legislation, 130 were in breach of their conditions.

"Invariably, the people who keep these dogs keep them as a status symbol and are not responsible dog owners," the Ch Insp said.

"These dogs are fighting dogs, they are not designed to be family pets."

Ch Insp Gibson said the dogs had been "humanely destroyed".

Since January 2007, two children in Merseyside have been killed in attacks by dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson died in January 2007 and four-year-old John Paul Massey in November 2009.

They were both killed by pit bull terrier-type dogs.

Clifford Clarke, 79, was killed in May by a bull mastiff crossed with "either a Presa Canario or a Bandog" dog, which is not classified as a dangerous dog under the 1991 legislation.

Tougher laws are to be introduced in England and Wales raising the maximum jail sentence for the owner of a dog that kills someone from two to 14 years.

The maximum sentence for a dog attack resulting in someone's death would be the same as that for death caused by dangerous driving, under the proposals.

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